The Elk Grove-based Kay Veterans Assistance Program recently expanded its services to include financial aid for veterans seeking to purchase their own homes.
Through this addition, two veterans per year will be eligible to receive as much as $5,000 toward a down payment or closing costs on a home.
The program operates under the umbrella of Elk Grove Food Bank Services and serves veterans living within the food bank’s boundaries of Elk Grove and its surrounding areas of the south county.
Jaclyn Kay, program co-founder and a food bank board member, expressed her excitement for the new service.
“We are excited to share the passion of this new innovative approach to assist all veterans, men, women and their families, with sustainable homeownership, and form a collaboration of resource partners,” she said. “It is my commitment to assist those who have served our country.”
Kay, who owns Elk Grove Insurance, added that the program is already assisting veterans through a fund of $100,000 per year.
Marie Jachino, executive director of the food bank, stressed the need for local veteran assistance.
“We often see veterans at the food bank, who find themselves unable to afford even basic living expenses, and some are facing homelessness,” she said. “This (additional) funding could provide real, permanent housing.”
Kay said it was the idea of her father, Lawrence, to establish her family’s local veterans assistance program.
“The program was his thoughts and what he wanted,” she said. “He became sick suddenly in the end of August-ish 2016, and he was in the hospital, and his roommate was a homeless vet. My father was never in the service, but it really spoke to him, and he felt terrible, because the guy was being released (to return to live on the streets).”
Working with her father and the food bank, Kay co-founded this local program to assist homeless and hungry veterans in the Elk Grove area.
Kay mentioned that her father, who was a construction labor attorney in Sacramento, moved to Elk Grove with his wife, Anita, in about 2013. She added that he died in 2017, and that his wish of having $100,000 per year donated in perpetuity to fund this homeless assistance program continues.
As an example of the program’s services, Kay noted it had helped one local veteran rent a place to live.
While he could afford the monthly costs, she said, he didn’t have enough money for the first and last months’ rent.
Kay added that she is interested in spreading the word about this program.
“The issue has been that people just don’t know that we have this program,” she said. “I can guarantee you there’s probably a heck of a lot more out there that need help, but we can’t find them. We’re trying to get people to know that this program is available.”
For more information on the Kay Veterans Assistance Program, visit the Elk Grove Food Bank’s website, www.ElkGroveFoodBank.org or call them at (916) 685-8453.