Mike Bellipani, a 62-year-old disabled veteran, moved into his Habitat home along with his service dog Bandit, just in time for the holidays last year. Mr. Bellipani grew up in a middle-class family, raised by his father and grandparents. He joined the Navy straight out of high school, serving four years with multiple trips to the Indian Ocean region. Mr. Bellipani shared a little bit of his journey about how he went from near homelessness to homeownership.
Before applying for the Habitat homeownership program, he was living in a housing complex through a Veteran’s housing grant program. “I got a fresh coat of paint in my apartment, but it was basically the same thing all over again – management changes, you’re always needing to worry about getting things fixed… who wouldn’t want a to own their own home that they could afford to have. I never thought in a million years I could.”
Mr. Bellipani initially heard about the Habitat homeownership program through a friend. He was worried about having below average credit and felt it may keep him from participating in the program. As part of the qualifying criteria, he completed finance classes that helped him rebuild his credit. He also completed the required “sweat equity” hours but had limitations due to being disabled. His soon-to-be new neighbors, friends, and other community members quickly jumped into help Mr. Bellipani out with putting in work towards building his Habitat home. Mr. Bellipani stated, “Now I have a yard, I got neighbors, and I got new friends I made through helping build other people’s homes and through building mine.”
Mr. Bellipani continues to support Habitat for Humanity through donating furniture and household goods and by being a resource to others in need. He also volunteers with the Veteran Peer Support Network and other veteran assistance organizations.
To make homeownership dreams like Mr. Bellipani’s a reality, Habitat for Humanity Corpus Christi depends on grants, donations sold through the ReStore, and from private monetary donations. If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact us at 361-289-1740 ext. 1100., email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HABITATFORHUMANITYCC.