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On Veterans Day, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Major General L. Scott Rice, and Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña expressed the Commonwealth’s gratitude to its veterans and Gold Star Families, including Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Thomas Hudner, during a ceremony in Memorial Hall at the Statehouse.

Later in the day in Reading, Governor Baker announced a new mortgage program designed to make it easier for Massachusetts veterans to purchase their first home. MassHousing’s Operation Welcome loan is available to active duty members of the Armed Forces, members of the Reserves and Massachusetts National Guard, honorably discharged veterans and Gold Star Family members.

“This Veterans Day, we honor the bravery of our servicemembers and their families by ensuring they have every opportunity to call Massachusetts home. Through their service, they continue to defend the American Dream, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to now help them realize it on their own.”

Qualified borrowers can receive up to 100% financing on a single-family home or condominium. Low downpayment options are also available for two-family and three-family homes.

“Massachusetts veterans have protected the American Dream, and with the help of this loan program they can live it,” said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. “Our new loan gives veterans another choice and an opportunity to buy some properties that the VA loan might not allow.”

MassHousing developed the loan program after finding that VA loans have some restrictions that make it more challenging to use in Massachusetts than in other states. There are relatively few lenders in Massachusetts offering the VA loan.

The announcement was held at the Reading home of the program’s first borrowers, Michael Stearns and Courtney Messenheimer. Their condo is one of three in a small condo association in downtown Reading and was not eligible for a VA loan. Stearns is a former U.S. Marine who served from 2009 to 2014 in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“The two of us come from working-class families who reside in affordable housing developments in the city of Boston. Growing up, neither of us had white-picket fences or even a backyard,’’ said Courtney Messenheimer. “It has been the dream of ours to own our own home and start a family someday. The opportunity this loan grants us to settle into our first real home means the world to Michael and me.”

Governor Baker then headed to Chelsea to visit the Massachusetts Soldiers’ home. CLICK HERE to watch a report from NECN on the emotional stop.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a program that will provide homeless veterans with housing services. Under the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, the administration is allocating 65 rental vouchers to chronically homeless veterans who were identified by the local veterans’ committees across the Commonwealth. These vouchers can be used to pay for rental units and will assist the Commonwealth in its goal of ending veteran’s homelessness. To receive vouchers, individuals were identified by the local Continuum of Care’s (CoC)’s veterans’ committees. The CoC’s worked closely with the Department of Veterans Services to create accurate lists of individuals who would immediately benefit from this community-based response to veteran homelessness.

 

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