CHILLICOTHE — While serving their country veterans help keep the nation safe from attacks. Once home these same veterans often have to continue fighting to remain a part of society. The Ohio State Legal Services Association works to help veterans in their battle with housing instability.
Ohio is the home of over 600,000 veterans, around 97,699 of them live in homes with conditions, crowding, or cost issues, according to data from the Housing Assistance Council. Around 21% of veterans are paying more than they can afford for housing and around 630 veterans in the state are homeless.
One local veteran, Bilal Sabir, recently benefited from services that helped him to not become one of the homeless veterans. Sabir is a 74-year-old decorated former Marine who served in Vietnam when he was only 19 years old. He has received a Purple Heart and several other service awards for his efforts alone and with his unit.
Sabir and his wife were recently threatened with homelessness when a lien was put on their house by a contractor who tried to foreclose to receive payment. Sabir said at the beginning he was confused and worried since he didn’t have the money for an attorney to help him through the legal process. While he knew of Legal Aid he didn’t know that they had specific programs for veterans till a friend told him to check them out.
This is when he met attorney Michael Gibbons-Camp. who said after looking at the case he knew he wanted to help Sabir. He said the case was upsetting to him because at the time Sabir was still trying to appeal the foreclosure. If foreclosed upon, based on the value of the property, the contractor wouldn’t have received