While there a number of organizations and charities dedicated to helping Veterans and their families rebuild their lives after service, not many have literally focused on building a new life for those who have sacrificed so much.

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-6-34-38-pmHomes For Our Troops (HFOT) is a privately funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that actually builds specially adapted homes nationwide. Not only do they meet the needs of severely injured Veterans, but they provide these homes mortgage-free in an effort to definitively rebuild lives.

To date, HFOT has built 227 specially adapted homes all across the nation. Their goal is to build a home for every Veteran who qualifies for a specially adapted home.

Who qualifies for a HFOT specially adapted home?

Assistance is provided to those who were severely injured in combat overseas since September 11, 2001. All branches of the military are eligible. The Veteran must be retired or in the process of retiring from service. The newly constructed home must be the primary residence of the Veteran and a criminal and credit background check must be passed.

A Veteran must be approved for the Specially Adapted Housing Grant by the VA. To qualify for a SAH grant, a Veteran must have sustained injuries including: multiple amputations, full or partial paralysis, and severe traumatic brain injury.

How is HFOT Funded?

The average cost for each specially adapted home is $430,000 (construction and lot prices vary based on the home’s location). While they do receive financial support from corporations, foundations, and other sponsors, Homes For Our Troops heavily relies on private and family foundations, individual donors, and community fundraisers nationwide. Over sixty percent of the operational budget each year is generated by those who volunteer their time and efforts to coordinate events and fundraisers.

The VA does authorize a Special Adapted Housing grant to the most severely injured Veterans. This grant is designed to help Veterans build, remodel, or purchase a home that will accommodate injuries sustained in war. If a Veteran has not used their SAH grant, HFOT does ask, but does not require, to use the money towards building their new home. Grants are currently worth $73,768, and if used, is the only amount technically provided by the government to HFOT.

It is also important to note that nearly 90 cents of every dollar goes towards the cost of building and purchasing a specially adapted home.

What is a specially adapted home?

A specially adapted home includes: wider halls and doorways; automatic door openers; roll-under sinks, stove tops and counters; pull-down shelving; backup house generator; sliding windows; roll in shower with digital temperature control; and a master bedroom closet that is a steel reinforced concrete storm room built up to FEMA standards. All homes are brand new.

The homes constructed by HFOT are four-bedroom, two bath, and typically 2,650 square feet. All homes are also energy efficient. HFOT has found that this size of home allows Veterans to raise their family comfortably while limiting utility expenses.

How can I help?

Donations can be made by credit card online, over the phone, or by mail. There is also the option of joining Operation Lasting Support, which is a monthly giving program that starts at just $10 a month.

  • Online Donations – https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/HomesforOurTroops
  • Phone Donations – call the HFOT office anytime from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST at 866-7-TROOPS
  • Mail Donations – print out a donation form and mail it to Homes For Our Troops 6 Main St. Taunton, MA 02780.

Individuals or groups can start their own fundraisers in their own communities. To start a fundraiser or receive tips and/or ideas, email fundraising@hfotusa.org.