South Florida remains one of the most ideal places for Caribbean-American veterans to set down their roots. There may soon be more members of this distinguished guests making their way back to American shores, too; the Caribbean National Weekly heralded the return of one veteran under a more progressive tilt favored by the current administration. Setting down roots requires a few things, not least a community and opportunities for work and play. The first step, however, is the home, and a glance at South Florida’s housing situation for veterans reveals hints as to where to go.
The housing bubble
Housing prices have shot up all over the USA and Florida has not been isolated from this phenomenon. Indeed, big percentage rises have been seen across the state. The good news is that in South Florida those rises have been confined to low double digits; the Tampa Bay Times note rises of only 12.6% in Miami Dade, for instance. While the average price remains high, in no small part due to the mega-mansions that dot South Florida’s most sought-after neighborhoods, there remains a huge amount of value in American-Caribbean communities across the southern area of the state.
Where does this leave veterans? Many veterans have headed down the VA refi route. House prices have rocketed while mortgage rates remain relatively low – that’s a good climate for refinancing, and to extract equity. Elsewhere, veterans can benefit from those same conditions in purchasing a property – just be aware that deposits are now higher than they were 3 years ago, which will put off some buyers, but there is value to be found.
Building a community
Veterans need communities, and Caribbean-American communities more so than others. A recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that female Caribbean-American veterans are at particular risk of homelessness due to a lack of support and long-standing community issues in the wider USA. Building that community for veterans is crucial, and something which the Caribbean community in South Florida is ideally placed to do.
Both cities and towns across South Florida have large communities of Caribbean-Americans that are well placed to receive these veterans. When it comes to veterans who have spent time abroad, the level of support needed is likely to be even higher. Creating a welcoming environment will go a long way to encouraging long-term security.
A big nod towards the heritage of the Caribbean community and, indeed, Caribbean veterans, comes through history. Cayman Loop News reported the planned building of the SPACE Caribbean Museum in Broward County would give the Caribbean-American and the wider Floridian community somewhere to really delve into the history of the region and understand the contributions of the community to Florida and, indeed, the wider United States. While not open yet, projects like this – and smaller ones within smaller communities – are a key part of helping new residents feel welcomed. This is especially true with veterans, who have often lived a very different life to that of their peers within the community and need that extra nod towards their service and what they’ve provided to the community.
Caribbean-American veterans can find a place to live in South Florida that will give them a close tie to both the USA and their roots in the Caribbean Ocean. Turning that house into a home, and giving these individuals the confidence they need to stick around for a long-time, requires a little more careful effort. Bit by bit, that’s being done across South Florida.