Vets face trouble buying homes

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SARASOTA--it's hard to find someone more deserving of the American dream than a veteran like twenty-four year old Mike McGowen.

"It's the most exciting feeling in the world when you know you're getting ready to be a homeowner, that is the American dream to own a home," said McGowen.

After serving three years in the Marines, he found a house in Bradenton that he didn't just love, but that he could also afford.

"Everything was so good, everything was moving great," said McGowen, "perfect really and then all of the sudden boom, they dropped me, I don't get the home, no questions really answered, I'm just left hanging, out a bunch of money and not really knowing where to go from there."

Now he's back to square one and looking for another house. It's a story that isn't unique.

"It's still happening," said McGowen, "I have countless friends in the local area between here and Brandon that are going through the same thing."

Real estate broker Tony Barrett says mortgage companies aren't always keen on lending money to veterans.

"Their job classification in the military is not going to be the same in the civilian world," said Barrett, "underwriters in certain banks want a consistent work history and they face that problem."

Barrett says these days about ten percent of his business comes from veterans. So to help out, he started Heroes Welcome Home. It's a non-profit aimed at helping vets make that first down payment.

"We ended up thinking, we should help these guys," said Barrett.

Help for thousands serving to make a difference; and McGowen knows just what a difference that kind of help can make.

"You're really going to be able to start that American dream of building a life, building a family and just really moving on with it," said McGowen.

For more information on Heroes Welcome Home, visit their website at