SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio Air Force veteran has combined his love for serving his country and his love for real estate to start a business dedicated to helping other veterans experiencing homelessness.
Daniel Cano is the owner and operator of Hero’s Haven, a property investment that works with non-profits to help get veterans off the streets and in a home.
“I purchase properties and I found out what room fits which veterans through the non-profits,” Cano said. “They help set these folks up and I use the money they send to pay for their rent. I am looking at this as being a stepping stone for them to get somewhere else. They can stay as long as they want but I want to help stabilize them to one day leaving and possibly helping other vets.”
Cano got this idea after speaking with his good friend who is in real estate.
He ended up resigning from his position working with the Department of Defense to pursue his dream full-time.
“Right now we have two duplexes, so four homes,” he said. “We closed on the property April 7 and I want to say April 9, I had my first vet living here.”
So far, Cano has helped at least 10 veterans from different backgrounds.
He said he has always had a passion for serving.
“I didn’t know how I was going to serve, but I knew I wanted to serve,” Cano said. “I did so through the military. I enlisted in the Air Force in 1988 and retired in 2009 but I knew I wasn’t don’t serving. I always say, ‘I might be retired from the Air Force, but I am not retired from the mission. The mission continues and it is important to me.”
Traveling all over the world and meeting so many people, Cano said he has a soft spot for his nation.
“Serving my country and our nation is a privilege,” he said. “I would do it all again. It has given me so much. Yes, it took a lot, but it gives you so much.”
That is the very reason he said he is giving back.
Though being a landlord has its challenges, Cano said it is rewarding to see the veterans have community and accountability among themselves.
“Having folks having the opportunity to be in a respectable clean environment and say, ‘You know what, if this guy can do it maybe I can do it because he seems to think I can do it!’ It warms my heart to come home and find that they are all sitting together, having conversations, helping each other out. The feeling that I get when I see them support each other, it is almost as if they are back in a unit,” Cano said. “Even though they come from different services and different experiences, they are back in a unit.”
Cano is on a mission to purchase more properties to expand his services.
He hopes one day, the veterans will merge back into a thriving society to inspire others as well.
“I wake up every day with a purpose and an intent and that is a blessing for me,” he said. “What are the opportunities for this to then trigger other people, possibly the folks living here, to go and do something else…every little bit helps. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of motivation from who knows and you are off doing something that is going to help somebody else. Yeah you can take what life has given you, but you can look at what life has given you and figure out a way to still get to where you want to go. You don’t have to conquer the world for what you would like to see happen. You can find where you can help whichever way that might be.”