Finding affordable housing can sometimes be a struggle for military families. Factors such as unemployment, financial stress and injuries can make it especially difficult, but five families in Georgia recently got the surprise of a lifetime when Operation Homefront and Wells Fargo teamed up to provide them with mortgage free homes as part of an ongoing effort to support the military community, reports The Associated Press.
A joint effort
The five homes were donated from Wells Fargo, which had foreclosed upon them in recent years. Instead of putting the houses up for auction, which is the usual course of action, the bank decided to put them toward a better cause. So far this year, the organization has provided more than 100 families with donated homes, all of which come without a mortgage. However, the new owners do have to pay property taxes and other common expenses. Most of the homes are given to servicemembers who have had to leave active duty due to injuries, and may have struggled transitioning to civilian life.
"They've got to live on an amount they're not used to living on," Amy Palmer, Operation Homefront's chief development officer, told the AP. "Some are employable and some aren't, so it really is an adjustment. It's harder to buy homes now. Most of these families would never have qualified for a home loan."
Highlights issues surrounding housing
Although more than 100 families have received homes from Operation Homefront this year, there are still many who are not quite as lucky. In fact, homelessness among veterans has been under the microscope recently, as the White House and the Department of Veterans Affairs have both been updating the public on their plans to end homelessness by 2015. Recent estimates place the number of vets on the street at about 60,000, according to Stars and Stripes.
The biggest push to address the issue has come from a recent partnership between the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Specifically, the two departments have pledged approximately $60 million to public housing agencies across the country in an effort to provide support to veterans. Many of these services including housing and rental vouchers that can help government officials reach their ambitious goals.