Veterans

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By Michelle Spada, Director of Family Services

Poverty, a lack of support from groups and networks, substandard housing and a lack of affordable housing put over 1.4 million veterans at risk for homelessness. As of January 2014, the number of homeless veterans in America was estimated at 49,993. More than 40,000 of these homeless vets receive compensation or pension benefits each month, but that’s not enough to find affordable housing. Returning veterans are twice as likely to become chronically homeless compared to other Americans.

These statistics show the critical challenges that veterans face with homelessness and finding stable, affordable housing. Through generous funding from the Home Depot Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County has begun to work more closely with the veteran community through two programs: homeownership and critical home repair.

Through its homeownership program, Habitat Montco offers a 0% interest mortgage with a $500 down payment and 200 required hours of sweat equity. Habitat Montco currently has a new construction home available in Bridgeport specifically reserved for a veteran. Veterans will need to be honorably discharged and make between 30%-60% of median income for Montgomery County. Applications opened June 1, 2016 and the property will be available May/June of 2017.

Through its critical home repair program, Habitat Montco provides low-cost critical repairs for current homeowners. The program focuses on the elderly, disabled, and veterans and deals primarily with heaters, roofs, accessibility, plumbing and electrical. Habitat Montco has up to 5 spots for veterans in Montgomery County for 2016-2017 who make between 20% and 80% of median area income. Last year, Habitat was able to serve three veteran families across Montgomery County through this program.

Habitat Montco cannot do this work alone. Community partnerships help the organization reach deeper into the community and ensure that veterans are aware of these opportunities. On July 7, 2016, the Montgomery County Vet Center partnered with Habitat Montco to hold a Veterans Info Session about these programs. Representatives from the VA Hospital, Philadelphia Regional Benefits Office, and the Montgomery County Department of Veterans Affairs also came out to provide services and information for the veterans. THANK YOU to all of these partners! The work you do every day supports the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our country’s freedom, and Habitat Montco is honored to work with you to continue to support veterans’ housing stability.

To the veterans of Montgomery County, thank you so much for your service! If you or a veteran you know could benefit from these programs, please contact Michelle Spada, Director of Family Services, at mspada@habitatmontco.org.