A new military spouse advocacy group hopes to build upon diverse backgrounds and varied experience to guide service members and veterans through the often-complicated process of home ownership.
The Caliber Military Spouse Council is made up of six spouses who are experts on military family issues like PCS reform, veteran homelessness, LGBTQ inclusivity, employment, Gold Star families support, and more. During a two-year term, they are tasked with learning about the unique needs and challenges of military homebuyers and then identifying services, resources, and potential community partners to help.
“Caliber’s product is important, because as members of the military community, and users of the VA Loan product, it can be quite difficult, especially in a market like we’re in now, where many loans aren’t even going to be looked at when multiple offers are on the table,” said council member Brian Alvarado. “And it gives us an opportunity to address those issues directly with the lending organizations to try and come up with solutions. And work with the military community to give that American dream, to have that white picket fence.”
Caliber Home Loans is a full-service national mortgage lender that originates a variety of loan products, including the VA Home Loan, through several channels and transactions. The company’s inaugural spouse council includes Alvarado, an LGBTQ community advocate and Director of Workforce Development on the Military Spouse Team at Hiring Our Heroes; Jessica Manfre, a licensed social worker and founder of the Inspire Up Foundation; Gold Star spouse Krista Simpson Anderson, co-founder of The Unquiet Professional; Marla Bautista, co-founder of the Bautista Project Inc. and leader in addressing homelessness; Verenice Castillo, founder and CEO of the Military Spouse Advocacy Network; and Megan Harless, an expert on PCS policy.
All of the members of the council agree that they stand out for being subject matter specialists on several key concerns for military families.
“With this council, we all work different platforms,” said Harless. “And so it’s a way to bring all of those issues together and be able to work on them together and support each other.”
Alvarado says his mission with the council is creating educational tools geared toward military community members that teach them how to prepare financially for home ownership and also to inform the lending community on the unique challenges that military families face. Anderson plans to focus on survivor benefits and preparing for the unexpected.
“I want to take the benefits of the VA Home Loan, put them next to a regular home loan, and see where we can kind of fill in that gap and provide them to possibly remarried spouses, children, and then parents. I just imagined my kids one day buying their first home and being able to come to Caliber, [and them] saying, you know, ‘Thank you for the sacrifice of your father.’”
Alvarado points out the significance of being part of the initial group.
“This is the first military spouse advisory council for a big corporation,” he said. “We have the ability to set an example, not just for a future Caliber Military Spouse Council but also for other companies who may want to look at this model and make it a priority as part of their corporate responsibilities.”
Bautista adds that the members are just as important as the council’s mission.
“I think for me, just knowing that the people that I work with, my friends, that these women and men are absolute fierce advocates for what they believe in,” she said. “And knowing that I’m a fierce advocate, coming alongside of that was a no-brainer. It was like, we absolutely have to do this. And I am naive enough to believe that we can change the world.”
For more information on the Caliber Military Spouse Council and its members, visit https://military.caliberhomeloans.com/caliber-difference/military-spouse-advisory-council/Read comments