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'My goal was to own a home in San Diego' | Seminar aims to help military veterans achieve dreams of homeownership

San Diego County is home to over 240,000 veterans, making it the 3rd largest home county to U.S. veterans, but many veterans find owning a home here is far from easy

SAN DIEGO — From serving overseas in Okinawa to being based at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego Marine Corporal E-4 Veteran Spshelle Rutledge always dreamed of owning a home in San Diego.

“My goal was to own a home in San Diego because it is beautiful. My son was born here, and I wanted to have something that I could pass down to my son,” Rutledge said.

Rutledge now suffers from PTSD.

"Ultimately just because of traumas that I experienced while in the military, it resulted in me having to honorably discharge,” Rutledge said.

Now working as a mental health educator at Jewish Family Services while getting her Ph.D. from Arizona State University and raising her son on her own, Rutledge didn't think owning a home would be a reality.

"When I first talked to my lender about owning a home, I did not qualify at first," Rutledge said.

Rutledge’s realtor brought her to the San Diego County Assessor's Office for assistance.

"We actually went through that process and qualified her for additional tax breaks, and different grants that are out there,” said Jordan Marks, tax advocate for the San Diego County Assessor-Recorder County Clerk's Office.

Using 100% VA disability, Rutledge finally got the help she needed.

“We qualified her and on the spot, she knew that every year she knew that $1,700 less was going on her bill,” Marks said.

Now to help other veterans, the assessor and African American Realtists will Host a free Veterans Homeownership Seminar online Saturday.

After serving in the Navy for 24 years, Darrill Cook is president-elect of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers in San Diego. He is also a happy veteran homeowner.

"It is expensive, but it is possible as well. That's what makes the seminar so valuable is that you have all of these professionals in one place,” said Darrill Cook, NAREB San Diego President-Elect.

Cook and others will pass their advice and resources to veterans seeking help.

"They all helped guide me and we're patient with me throughout the process while I was looking for a home when I finally did qualify,” Rutledge said.

Rutledge is now inside her own home in El Cajon with her 10-year-old son John.

"I am very happy and fortunate that I was able to do this,” Rutledge said.

The free seminar for Veterans and Homeownership is Sat. Nov. 13 at 10am-12:30 p.m.

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