SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — An Army veteran who lost his home to Hurricane Harvey will soon be a permanent resident of the Tampa Bay Area, thanks to a local non-profit that's making housing for veterans its top priority.
"It's got a little cosmetic damage, but it's got good bones," says Garrett Goodwin as he tours a home donated to the American Heroes Foundation, a Tampa Bay Area non-profit he recently founded to help veterans.
"It doesn’t look like much now but a little bit of community support, you know? Some paint, new fans. We’re going to need to pull up some of this wood," adds Goodwin as he walks through the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Sarasota County.
Goodwin's plan is to fix the home up and donate it to Lee Morgan, whose Texas home of 7 years was ruined by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
"It kept coming and coming until it was about 4 feet up into the house," recalls Morgan, who held out as long as he could in his home that he says was not in a flood zone.
"Everything in my trailer was flooded. Clothing. Everything," Morgan tells ABC Action News.
Morgan, a disabled Army veteran, moved in with his son, a Tampa Bay area first-responder and veteran.
But after 7 months, he feels like he's a burden, and says he would love to have a place of his own again.
It's going to take some donations and physical labor before American Heroes Foundation has the home fixed up enough to hand over the title and keys to Morgan.
But Goodwin hopes the project will be a kind of 'proof of concept,' launching a campaign to provide many homes to Tampa Bay Area veterans in need.
"We have such a huge, over-55 population that are veterans that need a safe, clean place to stay," Goodwin says.
"We're not the total solution but we can certainly be part of the solution."