Veterans life insurance

City of Tampa to rebuild disabled veteran’s home after fire

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A disabled veteran whose home became unlivable after a fire is getting a fresh start, thanks to a pilot program from the city of Tampa.

Booker Washington originally applied for Tampa’s owner-occupied rehabilitation program, but the city said he was ineligible because the damage was too extensive. City Council member Orlando Gudes pointed him to the new Home Replacement Pilot Program, which is expected to invest $260,000 in building new homes.

The program has received funding of approximately $780,000 for fiscal year 2023, which the city says will produce three new homes. To qualify for the program, the home must be beyond feasible repairs or rehabilitation, which means less than 25% of the structure is salvageable. The owner must meet the income requirements, which are at or below the 80% mark for the area median income.

The City of Tampa said homeowners will receive a silent mortgage, meaning they won’t have to make monthly payments until the loan is canceled at the end of the 30-year term. This leaves them responsible only for insurance and property taxes.

“Any time we can make a difference in someone’s life and help them find a healthy, safe place to live, we’ll jump at that opportunity,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. “This new program is another example of our tireless efforts to solve our affordable housing crisis, one house at a time.

The city will begin demolishing Booker Washington’s East Tampa home on Monday. Booker will be joined by family and friends, as well as Mayor Castor and members of the Tampa City Council.

Booker is expected to move into his new home in May 2023.