Did you know that about a third of veterans who served after 2001 pay more than 30% of their income on housing (NLIHC 2013). Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newark and the Home Depot Foundation have teamed up to address veteran homeowners’ critical repair needs in Essex, Hudson, and Union counties.
Veteran Partner Family member Sonia, a 30-year Jersey City resident, says that when she bought her house in 2013, she “didn’t know it was going to be so much of a headache!” In the six years she’s lived in the house with her mother and sister, she’s paid for one major repair after another while working three jobs to foot the bills. Veteran Partner Family member Michael concurs. His home, a multi-family in Elizabeth, is over 100 years old and he’s “constantly fixing something.” Unfortunately, since he bought the house in 2014, he hasn’t been able to devote his full attention to fixing it, first because of deployment and then because of health issues related to his service.
Michael says he “greatly appreciates the help from Habitat,” noting with frustration “It’s difficult to get help when you are a veteran homeowner, as opposed to a veteran who’s homeless or facing homelessness.” Sonia says, “You guys are awesome. You guys always returned my calls and emails. Everything was easy because you guys took care of everything!”
Michael and Sonia’s Critical Repair projects were funded by The Home Depot Foundation as part of its commitment to veteran causes, focusing on programs benefiting combat-wounded veterans, homeless veterans, and senior veterans. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $335 million in veteran causes and improved more than 47,000 veteran homes and facilities in 4,500 cities. In 2018, the Foundation pledged an additional $250 million to veteran causes taking the total commitment to half a billion by 2025. In addition, through Team Depot, Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, volunteers devote thousands of hours each year to building and repairing homes for those who have served. The Home Depot Foundation notes that the company contains 35,000 veteran associates.
Veteran Partner Families who participate in Habitat of Greater Newark’s Critical Repair program receive a home evaluation from Habitat of Greater Newark’s Family Services Coordinator. After a scope of project is compiled, Habitat of Greater Newark contractors get to work along with veteran homeowners, who must complete “sweat equity” hours on their projects or other Partner Family members’ home projects.
Veteran homeowners interested in Habitat of Greater Newark’s Critical Repair program can email the Family Services Coordinator at email@example.com to find out more.