PSAR is proud to announce the completion of the “Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant” program.
In a joint partnership with the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Housing Affordability Fund (HAF), on Memorial Day, PSAR launched a special grants program named in honor of 2019 PSAR President Robert Calloway, a military veteran and PSAR Past Immediate-President.
The PSAR Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant program helped first-time military homebuyers with closing-cost assistance of $1,500.
A total of 34 grants were available. The grants program was scheduled to continue for up to one year or until the available $51,000 was exhausted. Less than three months later, on Aug. 26, the final available closing-cost grant was approved and distributed.
“This grants program was a tremendous success for our veterans,” said Robert Cromer, 2020 PSAR President. “PSAR was honored to give-back to our military community and provide closing-cost assistance to our hometown heroes and their families who were searching to find a place to call home. I am proud to have been part of this effort to help these courageous men and women who have sacrificed and served to protect this beautiful country and our values and freedoms that have kept us free.”
“We felt that naming this grant after Robert Calloway was a fitting tribute to his legacy as a veteran and a member of the PSAR family,” said Rich D’Ascoli, CEO of PSAR. “Our Association was proud to team-up with C.A.R. and give back to those who have worked hard to protect our everyday lives. The Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant program has truly been an across-the-board, undeniable success story that everyone can be proud of.”
The joint partnership with PSAR and C.A.R. was initiated by the late Robert Calloway, who suddenly passed away May 4 this year from heart disease. He was 54. Prior to his real estate sales career as a REALTOR®, Calloway served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years, from June 1985 to June 2011, retiring as a Senior Chief Navy Counselor. He specialized in human resources and counseling for the Navy during 20 of his 26 years. In 2008, Calloway started selling real estate while still serving in the Navy. He joined PSAR at the start of his real estate sales career and was elected to the PSAR board of directors in 2014.
At the time of his passing, Calloway was serving as a current PSAR board member and as a C.A.R. director, including as Vice Chair of C.A.R.’s Southern California Region 30. In addition, Calloway was serving as an advisor to Ernie Dronenburg, San Diego County assessor-recorder-clerk. With the assistance of Calloway’s leadership, Dronenburg introduced a number of housing initiatives that assisted disabled military veterans achieve homeownership, stay in their homes and save money on their property taxes.
“It’s wonderful to learn of PSAR’s success with the Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant program,” said Dronenburg. “It was an honor to work with Robert, who made San Diego a better place to live. His life was marked by service, starting in the Navy and ending as a super professional in the real estate industry. His legacy of service will live on in the homes of the veteran families who were able to achieve homeownership thanks to the Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant.”
Prior to serving as PSAR president, Calloway also served as the founding president of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), San Diego chapter. Established in 2011 and based in Corona, Calif., VAREP is a non-profit, HUD-approved housing counseling organization dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership, financial-literacy education, VA loan awareness, and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities.
“Our gratitude and congratulations are extended to PSAR for working to enhance lives of our veterans over the long haul,” said Son Nguyen, founder and president, VAREP. “On behalf of our 6,000 members nationwide, we applaud PSAR for their efforts to create housing opportunities for veterans and remove barriers to homeownership. We are very grateful to PSAR.”
HAF, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing California’s growing housing affordability crisis, was established by C.A.R. in November 2002 to provide more options to first-time homebuyers. It was created by REALTORS® who bore witness to working families being denied the American dream of homeownership. The HAF mission statement states the nonprofit plays an active role in addressing ongoing housing affordability challenges facing Californians.
HAF receives donations from C.A.R. members, non-members and other institutions that are committed to addressing housing challenges in California. HAF donations are then distributed through local REALTOR® associations who have submitted funding requests for local housing affordability and housing supply programs. For maximum impact, HAF funds are leveraged with local associations and their housing partners.
“We were honored to work with PSAR on the Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant program,” said Sharon Barron, 2020 HAF chair. “We applaud PSAR for their innovative leadership and allocation of HAF funds that are intended to provide more options for first-time homebuyers’ entry into homeownership. We especially appreciate the support of C.A.R. members for their unwavering support and contributions to the Housing Affordability Fund so that we can continue to address California’s housing affordability crisis in the midst of skyrocketing housing costs. Their participation allows us to continue to help Californians achieve the dream of homeownership.”
“As a first-time, military veteran homebuyer, I went through different moods and feelings going through the home purchase process, and shock and fear were some of those feelings,”
Several first-time veteran homebuyers who were recipients of Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant, along with their agents, spoke with PSAR to express their gratitude to PSAR for the grants program.
“As a first-time, military veteran homebuyer, I went through different moods and feelings going through the home purchase process, and shock and fear were some of those feelings,” said Efren Renales Jr., a 20-year retired U.S. Air Force veteran. “However, the PSAR closing-cost assistance proved to be a huge help. This program, along with an awesome realtor, gave the boost of confidence and security we needed to know we can have the home we envisioned building our legacy in. After living in 13 different homes across seven U.S. and overseas locations, we consider ourselves blessed to be able to ground roots and watch our children grow in our hometown, which the PSAR closing-cost assistance program greatly contributed to.”
Renales and his wife have three children. PSAR REALTOR® member Brynn Gonzales represented the Renales family in their home transaction.
“It was a great honor and enjoyable experience to be able to help my clients find a place to call home, especially the Renales family,” said Gonzales. “As a PSAR REALTOR® member, it feels good to be able to give back to our military families. I think building wealth for families is important and it excites me because it provides unique wealth building opportunities for future investments. It’s important for homeowners to invest in and take ownership of their community because they can help improve the sales of their surrounding area when purchasing their home. The community also benefits from the homeowner paying real estate taxes.”
“I am thrilled to finally be done renting, start building equity and calling my new place home,”
Justin Brennan is a U.S. Navy submarine veteran who served aboard the USS Olympia (SSN 717). The native of Northern Virginia joined the Navy at age 23. Brennan was represented by REALTOR® Amir Tafreshnia in his home purchase.
“I am thrilled to finally be done renting, start building equity and calling my new place home,” said Brennan. “I don’t think it would have been achievable without my veteran benefits and the zero-down VA loan. With the added PSAR closing-cost assistance, it really made a difference during my homebuying journey. The PSAR closing-cost assistance allowed me more flexibility in creating a competitive offer. It also provided big relief when it came to closing time. Closing is expensive and with the additional money in my pocket I was able to finance my move, purchase needed items for my new home and it made me feel very appreciated. I am proud to have served this great country. There are so many great programs out there for us veterans and I can not thank the PSAR team enough for their assistance.”
“Thanks to the PSAR grants, it helps spread awareness of possibility of homeownership and the pride of ownership in the community,” said Tafreshnia. “There is no better feeling, and the best part of my job, to help someone get into a home they love, in an area they love and ultimately reach one of the goals they’ve been working so hard towards. It means the world to me and motivates me daily. Thanks to the PSAR team for making it happen.”
"Being a homeowner and sharing this positive energy with my family is the highlight of my recent retirement."
Corey Clemons spent 26 years in the Navy. Corey, his wife and three children recently moved into their new home.
“It was truly rewarding to serve our amazing country for 26 years, and I understand what sacrifice really means,” said Clemons. “I served for all those years because this journey was bigger than me. I wanted to give back and anticipated that my sacrifice would pay dividends for my family. We are extremely appreciative and proud to be brand new homeowners in sunny San Diego for the first time. Being a homeowner and sharing this positive energy with my family is the highlight of my recent retirement. The PSAR closing-cost assistance meant a lot to my family and I. This assistance was more like icing on a cake especially when blessed to purchase a brand new home in California for the first time. Thanks abundantly to PSAR for such a kind gesture that my family and I will be forever grateful for.”
“Being a first-time buyer was stressful and, at the same time, exciting,”
Kristopher Mangrbang is in his 29th year of active duty in the U.S. Navy. He was represented in his recent home purchase by PSAR REALTOR® member Merrie Espina.
“Being a first-time buyer was stressful and, at the same time, exciting,” said Mangrbang. “I and my family are very grateful for the PSAR assistance as it covered our HOA fees for the whole year. And, of course, we wouldn’t have this type of assistance without our agent Merrie.”
PSAR REALTOR® member Marielena Beatie represented homebuyer Agustin Villasenor.
“I received news about the Robert Calloway VA grant as soon as we opened escrow and I quickly contacted Sally Valdez from PSAR and she guided us through the application process,” said Beatie. “It was a pleasure to work with Agustin and Daniela Villasenor. They were approved as one of the grant recipients and this was definitely an added bonus. They were very grateful for this additional help with their closing costs. This was their first home purchase and it was exciting to be able to make their dream of home ownership come true. It was truly an honor to help a veteran in his first investment. It is exciting to help veterans be able to own a part of the American Dream. Military families sacrifice for our freedom and it is truly an honor to be able to give something back to them. I hope they enjoy their beautiful home, they deserve it.”
To qualify for a Robert Calloway Memorial Veteran Housing Grant, the homebuyer’s mortgage loan had to be already approved through regular Desktop Underwriting (DU) industry standards and have an executed Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) in escrow. Homebuyers also had to use a Veterans Administration (VA) loan for their home purchase. All San Diego County-area REALTORS®, regardless of Association membership, were invited to participate in the grant program.