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Investors save Spring Garden Twp. veterans' home from foreclosure

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

Three military veterans in Spring Garden Township will wake up on Veterans Day knowing they're secure in their freshly renovated home.

That's thanks to two local real estate investors, Ray Abboud, of Springettsbury Township, and Brian Widmayer, of Dover, who swooped in at the last minute this summer to buy the property, which was on the brink of foreclosure.

From right, Cash Now's Brian Widmayer, of Dover Township, and Ray Abboud, of Springettsbury Township, are shown in front of their recently acquired veteran housing facility where tenants Frederick W. Keever II and Calvin Randall, who both served in the U.S. Navy, sit on the porch in Spring Garden Township, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"We asked what we can do to make sure we're able to keep them here and not get them evicted without breaking any rules," said Abboud, president of the Springettsbury-based real estate company Cash Now. "I have a lot of respect for our veterans."

Earlier this year, the property in the 1500 block of Second Avenue was swamped with eviction warnings and foreclosure threats after the previous owner subleased the home to a woman who worked with programs to house veterans, Abboud said.

When more than three unrelated people live in a home, it is considered a rooming house, which requires additional permits from the township — something the previous owner never received.

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The previous owner was also behind on mortgage payments, Widmayer said.

Enter Abboud and Widmayer, who first heard of the property and its financial issues in June.

Despite knowing the property wasn't a sound investment, the two purchased it in September after receiving the necessary approvals from the township. 

"It wasn't like a No. 1 pick as far as investments, but it was more of a do-the-right-thing and help out those in need," said Widmayer, vice president of Cash Now.

Widmayer is also the chief of Dover Township Fire Department.

Ray Abboud, of Cash Now, talks about the numerous renovations made to their newly acquired veterans housing facility in Spring Garden Township, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Cash Now took over the property in September. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Renovations aren't complete, but Abboud and Widmayer have already made heavy upgrades to the home, which featured damage so severe the refrigerator was on the verge of falling through the floor.

Now, for $600 a month in rent, the veterans have access to all-new furniture, televisions, patriotic artwork, and brand-new bathroom fixtures and kitchen appliances. Five people are permitted to live in the house at once.

And how much of an improvement do the tenants believe was made?

"About 1,000%," said Calvin Randall, a resident of three years, who served in the U.S. Navy for six years.

Abboud said that there is no limit on how long tenants can stay at the home. Whether they want to stay for a month or 20 years, he said, is up to them.

The two investors are now mulling buying more properties to house veterans in need, they said.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.