More than 80 veterans step up to build a Habitat house for veteran mom

Navy veteran Andrea Martinez is a single mother who spends more than 30% of her income on housing. And she’s not alone, according to a National Housing Conference report that found female veterans in general face significant economic and housing challenges, but single mothers are particularly vulnerable to housing cost burdens compared to veterans in general.

That will change when she becomes a homeowner later this year. This week, more than 80 veterans and veteran-owned businesses are coming together to build a Habitat for Humanity home for Martinez and her daughter and her mom. 

The Veterans Build project is Sept. 12-16 at Lakeshore Habitat’s largest development, Vista Green, 285 W. 36th Street, Holland.

Supporting this effort are eight local businesses, including LG Energy Solution.

“Building a home for a veteran is an important project that we are excited to be part of,” says Val Gent, LG Energy Solution Michigan’s communications manager. “LG Energy Solution is a proud supporter and employer of veterans. In fact, members of our team who also served in the Armed Forces plan to help build the Navy veteran’s home.” 

Working to help fellow veteran

“We hope this Veterans Build can be a meaningful way to bring local veterans and veteran-owned businesses together – a week where we can all build alongside a local veteran and future homeowner who is working hard to bring stability and security to her family,” says Don Wilkinson, Lakeshore Habitat executive director.

More than 80 veterans have signed up to help build Martinez’s home during the week of Veterans Build.

Martinez is excited about her home at Vista Green, a future neighborhood for 42 families. 

“This home will be a new beginning, an opportunity to grow, a new chapter in our lives to give my daughter stability, security and belonging … on top of the immense pride that comes from having a place to call my own,” Martinez says.

Stresses of housing costs

Martinez’s housing struggle is felt by nearly 4 million U.S. veterans who pay at least 30% of their income toward rent or mortgage, making them cost-burdened by housing. About 1.5 million veterans pay at least 50% of their income, categorizing them as severely cost-burdened.

Lakeshore Habitat has built over 160 homes, and each homeowner’s mortgage payment (including escrow and utilities) is never more than 30% of their income. The organization serves individuals in Allegan, Ottawa and Van Buren counties who make 30-80% of the area median income. 

There’s room for more veterans groups, veteran-owned businesses or other volunteers to get involved in this and other projects. Schedule a time to work on the house by going to, or financially support this build by contacting Dave Rozman, senior development director, at or 616.393.8001 x106.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.