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Habitat for Humanity of PBC builds homes for veterans

Melissa Royal, Habitat for Humanity 2022 Veterans Build homeowner.

Photos by Habitat for Humanity of PBC.

Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County kicked off its 2022 Veterans Build: Raise the Roof on Nov. 5 with a groundbreaking ceremony for a veteran in Lake Worth.

Habitat’s Veterans Build partners with military service members, their families and the families of the fallen to build affordable housing. Habitat believes that service members should be welcomed home with honor, dignity and respect.

“We are dedicated to serving those who serve by providing affordable homeownership opportunities in Palm Beach County,” Habitat CEO Peter Gates says.

The Royal Family - Jaden, Melissa, and Jason.

Habitat launched its Veterans Build in 2021 in response to grassroots efforts to meet the housing needs of veterans. Habitat is empowering military and veteran families to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives.

The Veterans Build co-chairs are Chuck Millar and Julia Dattolo.

The groundbreaking Nov. 5 was for Army veteran Melissa Royal, a senior detection investigation analyst and mother of three sons. After seven years in the Army, Royal says it is important for her to stay near family, and becoming a homeowner will allow her to do that.

She says the road to home ownership hasn’t been easy. She spent a year searching for a home. “I kept getting out-bid,” Royal says. “Houses were going because people would pay cash.”

With that weight lifted off her shoulders, Royal says she feels great about becoming a homeowner. “It’s like my dream has come true. The hugest part of this is I can have my family come over. I can now have family gatherings. I don’t have to worry about moving.”

Participants in the build can write messages to the Royals or loved ones on the wood framing of the home if they donate $100. Habitat staff will have red and blue markers to write on exposed wood, depending on the construction stage.

The fundraiser began Nov. 5 with messages written on the roof trusses and continues until the drywall is installed.

Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Nothing Bundt Cakes provided refreshments at the Veterans Build ceremony. For more information contact Kristen Bardin, the director of development, at


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