Habitat for Humanity International has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement a program that aims to increase affordable homeownership opportunities among the veteran population in the U.S.
Veterans who are enrolled in Habitat's Veterans Build program at affiliates in Saginaw, Michigan; Mingo County, West Virginia; and Will and DuPage Counties, Illinois, and the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program will be able to use their HUD-VASH housing choice rental assistance voucher to partially subsidize homeownership expenses for up to 10 or 15 years, depending on the mortgage term of their affordable home build. As part of the pilot, the VA will provide ongoing case management and clinical services to enrolled veterans to help prevent future housing and personal crises.
"The transition from military life to civilian life can be challenging for veterans. A struggle to adjust, or difficulty obtaining essentials such as housing, employment, education, and healthcare, can lead to homelessness, unemployment, or living with chronic health conditions," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "At Habitat, we know that decent and affordable housing provides tremendous social and economic benefit. Veterans have sacrificed so much to serve our country. It is incumbent on us to serve them by helping them find long-term stability through safe and affordable shelter."
The National Low-Income Housing Coalition estimates that more than 25% of veteran households in the U.S. are cost-burdened. Of those, an estimated 1.5 million are severely cost-burdened, spending more than 50% of their income on housing.
"President Biden declared that America's sacred obligation is to ensure troops sent into harm's way are prepared, and veterans and their families are cared for when they return home," said Monica Diaz, Executive Director of the Veterans Health Administration Homeless Programs Office. "This partnership will be integral in fulfilling this obligation and improving the lives of thousands of veterans and their families. Every individual who has served our country deserves a safe, stable place to call home."
Habitat's Veterans Build program seeks to address that problem by partnering with veterans and their families to improve their lives through new home construction, critical home repairs, community engagement and education, job training and employment opportunities.