Lakeland Habitat for Humanity expands home-repair program for vets in Polk

Lakeland chapter accepting applications from entire county

Gary White
| The Ledger

LAKELAND — Lee Wilson and his 92-year-old mother, Rosezell Wilson, no longer have to worry that water might seep into their house the next time a thunderstorm stalls over their Lakeland neighborhood.

Contractors hired by Lakeland Habitat for Humanity recently replaced the Wilsons’ roof, while also making repairs to a bathroom and a porch and replacing a kitchen faucet and two windows. And it cost the Wilsons nothing.

Lee Wilson, 70, benefited from a Habitat for Humanity program that provides free home repairs for veterans and their families. Wilson served in the U.S. Army for three years, including one year spent in Vietnam during the military action there.

Most Americans probably associate Habitat for Humanity with the mission of building houses for people with low incomes. In recent years, though, the Lakeland affiliate has shifted more toward doing

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Want a second home during COVID? These Zillow vets have invented a radically less expensive way to buy one

There’s an old truism about vacation homes: Nature wants them back.

Austin Allison wearing a suit and tie: Pacasso's co-founder Austin Allison

© Courtesy of Pacaso
Pacasso’s co-founder Austin Allison

Indeed between the maintenance, upkeep, taxes, hassle of finding short-term renters, and typically small number of days per year homeowners are actually in residence, vacation homes are generally a great way to make memories—and a poor way to invest your money.


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Now two veterans of Zillow have a new spin on second homes—they want to pair you up with likeminded buyers to own just the amount of the house you’ll actually use. Their company, called Pacaso (pronounced like the painter), launched this week. Pacaso’s chairman is Zillow cofounder and former CEO Spencer Rascoff; its CEO is Dotloop founder and former Zillow executive Austin Allison. The company says it has raised $17 million in Series A funding, from investors including Maveron, Crosscut, Global Founders Capital, Howard Schultz, and other Zillow

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76 vets die of Covid at soldiers home

They stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated Nazi concentration camps and fought the Cold War in Korea and Vietnam only to die in their beds from a virus that infiltrated the veteran’s center in western Massachusetts that was their home.

a group of people in a park

© Provided by NBC News

But on Friday the loved ones of the 76 veterans who, starting in March, died from the coronavirus at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, received a measure of belated justice.


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Former Superintendent Bennett Walsh, a Marine, and the home’s ousted medical director, Dr. David Clinton, were each charged with five counts of “wantonly or recklessly” causing or permitting bodily harm and five counts of neglect or mistreatment of an older or disabled person, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy announced.

“My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones at the Holyoke Soldiers Home,” Healy said. “They risked their lives from Normandy to

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