Our goal in providing homes to our wounded heroes is to equip them to transition successfully into their local community and to provide the tools they need to succeed in life. Thus, we build specially adapted homes that allow our wounded warriors to be as independent as possible. We place these homes in planned communities or in areas where they have ongoing support from neighbors, the Home Owners Association, other military organizations and their local Rotary Club or other service organizations.
Many of our planned communities have homes available from $300,000-$1 Million+. This is significant because it allows our heroes to develop relationships with stable families who are not living month to month. These families care and want to help the veteran face any challenges that may occur down the road. These communities are very safe and provide access to extra amenities for our wounded heroes and their families. And we insure the veteran is able to afford the home provided on his/her fixed disability monthly award.
While the average value of a completed home is about $400,000 and at first blush may seem quite high, it is designed to grow with the family from today through retirement. It is very expensive to adapt a home to meet the physical needs of our wounded veterans to enable them to regain their daily independence. And it is best to do this only once. The home is titled in the veteran’s name and the veteran contributes $50,000 towards the final purchase price of the home plus any desired upgrades beyond the Helping a Hero budget. This is relevant because we do not want to minimize the veteran’s role as provider for his family. And our female veterans also take pride in knowing they are participating in the purchase of their homes. This $50,000 mortgage equates to about $400 per month and when added to insurance, taxes and upkeep still totals less than the average price of an apartment. (Depending on his/her injuries, the VA has an SAH grant that is used to cover the costs to modify the home for our veterans who qualify).
Many states have passed laws that exempt our wounded warriors who were 100% disabled in combat from paying property taxes or at least discounting them. Texas has even passed laws to provide Toll Free usage of our state toll roads. Since our wounded warriors are on a fixed disability income and have sacrificed so much for our freedom, we encourage states to reduce taxes where possible.
Part of the selection process involves financially evaluating the veteran to ensure his/her tax-free disability payment received from the VA will cover the monthly expenses of the home and still provide enough money to meet other bills. If we conclude that a particular family will struggle with this financial obligation, we will find the best price range of a home that will financially work for the family. We are also confined based on the budget and costs of each home as the building costs vary in every community.
The veteran (and his spouse if applicable) is required to sign an agreement that commits him/her to stay in the home for a minimum of 10 years. This requirement is in place for 3 reasons. First, we do not want these young service members to have access to @$300,000+ in equity on day one and be tempted to borrow against it to finance a business or other endeavor which could jeopardize the home. Second, in the event there is a divorce, the home will stay with the veteran and will not be subject to property division. Third, our donors are giving funds to provide a home to a wounded veteran in their community…should the veteran have an opportunity that takes him out of town during that 10 years, we would repurchase the home for the veteran’s original investment and award it to another injured veteran in the community. (If the veteran has also utilized his/her SAH grant money, this amount is included in the amount.) We work with our veterans when a change in life circumstances makes moving a necessity to ensure they have a home where they need to move.
If a wounded warrior dies during the 10 year contract period and is married and/or has children, the home will go to his immediate family. If the wounded warrior is single with no issue, the home will return to HelpingaHero.org and another wounded warrior will be placed into the home or it will be sold and the proceeds of the home used to build another adapted home for a wounded warrior.