Right kind of cooperation

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, March 20, 2014

Examples of government agencies cooperating and actually helping the citizens they represent can be hard to find, but they do happen, every day, often in ways that aren’t notable by themselves.

But an extraordinary example came to fruition Wednesday, when a U.S. Air Force veteran who had found herself and her young daughter homeless when she returned from the service got a new-to-her home on North Suffolk’s Bradford Drive.

Having been medically discharged after 13 years serving around the world and in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Mari Richardson returned home to a country that, unfortunately, often does a poor job of taking care of its wounded warriors.

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But then the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, which is operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, began looking for a homeless veteran to support. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development got involved and approached the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

The house was purchased through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which purchases, rehabilitates and resells foreclosed homes in areas hit hard by the foreclosure epidemic. The program has helped 11 people become homeowners in the last two years.

Richardson will own her home mortgage-free provided she does not sell it within 15 years. Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting event was a joyful culmination of all the work that was done to find and prepare the house and connect Richardson with the agencies.

It was worth it to help someone who was injured while serving our country. We hope these types of examples become more common.