Meet LeoDavid. He spent 8 years in the army, and his expression says what all veterans feel: wait, we can die together, but not live together?

This is a reality in towns like DeLand, Florida. Many local municipalities refuse to remove old, outdated ordinances that violate property rights by using zoning to prohibit more than two unrelated people from living in the same home, regardless of the number of bedrooms the house has.

These occupancy limit laws are one of many reasons housing solutions cannot be built today and prevent non-profits that work to provide veterans with housing from operating in areas like DeLand. This includes Breyting's H-House, our smallest single-family four-bedroom, four-bath, four-patio home. The H-House is the perfect solution for many friends and families who are pooling resources to purchase or rent an affordable living option.

While the City of DeLand has granted us permission to build the home, we are prohibited from using it for its intended purpose, which is to create homes people can afford. According to the city, they believe their laws give them the authority to define what constitutes a family, and unrelated veterans or our elders sharing a home does not fit their definition of family. For many veterans, the traumas of war are often misunderstood by their natural families. So, they turn to the people who fought by their side, their fellow soldiers, to form their adopted family and support system. After all, they fought for freedom, and Breyting believes we should honor their choices regarding who they call family.

In the midst of the current housing crisis, every property owner must retain the right to decide what to do with their bedrooms, not the cities. Similarly, every citizen should have the right to determine who they consider family, not cities. We strongly urge you to exercise your power as citizens and contact your commissioners and mayors, asking them to reconsider these restrictive laws and allow one person or couple per bedroom regardless of someone's birth association with the other people in the home. Your voice matters, and your actions can make a difference.

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