Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find the answers to the questions most frequently asked about our organization. Please call us or email us if you need more information.
What is your mission? To build specially adapted homes for severely injured Veterans across the nation to enable them to rebuild their lives.
Are you a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization? Yes, we are a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, and your contributions are tax-deductible. Our Federal ID # is 54-2143612.
Do you build only brand new homes, or do you adapt existing homes? We build new specially adapted homes.
Who do you provide assistance to? We provide assistance to the most severely injured service members who have been injured since September 11, 2001.
Do you help severely wounded service members from all branches of the military? Yes, we provide assistance to members of all branches of the military who qualify.
How do you select your Veterans? The Veteran must be approved for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant from the Veterans Administration. The grant is awarded to severely injured Veterans based on the level of injury. Most are multiple amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Veteran applies to Homes for Our Troops (HFOT), and must meet the following requirements:
- The Veteran was injured in combat or in support of combat operations “in theater,” meaning while deployed overseas in the theater of war.
- The injuries must have been sustained after Sept 11, 2001.
- The Veteran must be retired or in the retirement process.
- The home is to be used as the primary residence of the Veteran.
- The Veteran passes a crime and credit check.
What makes HFOT different? We focus on Rebuilding Lives. Our tag line is “Building Homes, Rebuilding Lives”. Rebuilding Lives is the most important aspect. We believe that a home is the center of helping to rebuild the lives of our severely injured Veterans. To that end, Homes for Our Troops provides pre and post-home delivery financial planning and household budgeting, home ownership education and a full year of warranty coverage to ensure that the Veteran is set up for long-term success as a homeowner. We also follow up with our Veterans, and are developing a network to provide assistance with employment, education, training, health, and other issues. We want to provide the linkage between the Veteran and the assistance he or she needs. In addition, it is our goal to build a home of the highest quality, using top quality products that endure the test of time (Kohler, Armstrong, Whirlpool, CertainTeed etc). We build the entire home to receive an Energy Star rating for efficiency and the lowest possible utility expense, and we look for builders who have a track record of high quality workmanship in an effort to reduce the amount of maintenance and expense to our Veterans. Although the home is provided to the Veteran mortgage-free, we place a 10 year lien on the home to protect the Veteran from losing the home due to foreclosure, to protect our donors’ investments in the program and to provide a period of time for the family to become more financially stable. Beginning in year six, the Veteran accrues 20 percent equity per year until he/she has full equity after 10 years in the home.
How are you funded? Homes for Our Troops is 501(c)3 (non-profit), privately funded organization, and is not funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs or any other government organization. Nearly 70 percent of our operational budget is generated by individual donors and community fundraisers nationwide who step up to help our American heroes by coordinating everything from lemonade stands to golf tournaments. The remaining financial support we receive is from corporations, foundations and our corporate sponsors.
Does Homes for Our Troops charge the Veteran for the home? No. The Veteran does not pay anything toward the cost of the home, and there is no mortgage to be paid in the future.
What percentage of my donation goes to overhead? Since our founding in 2004, administration and fundraising costs are only 9.8 percent of revenues. This means that over 90 cents out of every $1 (dollar) donated to HFOT is going directly to our program and to the Veterans we serve. View our financial statements on our website, www.hfotusa.org.
How do I make a donation? You may make a donation using your credit card online, by calling our office from 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Time at 866-7-TROOPS, or print out a form and mail in a donation to our office at: Homes for Our Troops 6 Main St. Taunton, MA 02780
You can also become a member of Operation Lasting Support, our monthly giving program, for as little as $10 a month.
Do you have any Chapters across the country? We do not have chapters. Our headquarters is located in Taunton, Massachusetts.
How is land chosen for a build project? The Veteran decides in what geographic area he/she would like to live. They often consider proximity to family and medical centers, school systems, jobs, privacy preferences, and urban versus rural settings. The HFOT land team finds and provides lots to the Veteran, who makes the decision.
Will HFOT build a home anywhere the Veteran wants to be? HFOT will accommodate the Veteran’s reasonable preferences as much as possible. Currently, HFOT has completed homes in 38 states – ranging from the west coast to the east coast. Cost and certain topographic requirements such as no mountain-side lots or flood zone areas may affect build viability in certain areas of the country. However, HFOT works with the Veteran to adjust the land search parameters.
What is the SAH grant and how much is it? How does HFOT obtain the grant? The SAH (Specially Adapted Housing) grant is a grant from the Veterans Administration for the most severely injured Veterans that enables them to modify or purchase a home to accommodate their disabilities. The grant amount changes annually. The current amount of the SAH Grant is $67,555. The Veteran and HFOT sign a contract regarding the Veteran's release of the grant funds to HFOT upon completion of the Veteran's specially adapted home. HFOT works closely with the VA and the Veteran to complete the VA's required documentation to transfer the funds to HFOT. HFOT funds the remaining cost of the home entirely through private donations and corporate sponsorships.
What does specially adapted mean? Our homes have over 155 special adaptations to provide full access to the home for the Veteran. These adaptations include 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; a master bedroom closet that is a steel reinforced concrete storm room built to FEMA standards.
Why would Veterans who have prosthetic legs require a specially adapted home? Aren’t they able to stand and walk around just fine in a regular (non-adapted) home?
What many people don’t know about the amputee population is that when these individuals are at home, many actually prefer to be in their wheelchairs resting and recovering their residual limbs. Prosthetic use and wear, especially after a long day, can become quite cumbersome and uncomfortable, often irritating sensitive and exposed skin areas. Prosthetics are not ideal for climbing stairs or walking on surface areas such as rugs, bathroom tiles, and stepping over thresholds; nor are they practical to put on at nighttime when getting out of bed for the bathroom or tending to a child. Living in an HFOT specially adapted home alleviates those issues for our injured Veterans and aids in their recovery, allowing them to have complete wheelchair accessibility and avoid falls and further injuries.
Does HFOT provide a warranty on the house? Yes, HFOT provides a one year limited warranty to guard against defects. The general contractor also provides a one-year limited warranty.
How does HFOT assist the Veteran in being prepared financially for homeownership? HFOT requires the Veteran to participate in a financial planning program with a pro bono financial planner for three years. Additionally, HFOT provides the Veteran with information on property tax exemptions for which he may qualify.
How long do most build projects take? From acceptance into the HFOT Family to Key Ceremony, our time is roughly 15-21 months. Construction averages about four to seven months. Additional time is spent on land search and permitting.
What is a Groundbreaking event? The Groundbreaking event is the first milestone for our Veterans in the home-building process and an opportunity for future neighbors to welcome our Veterans and their families to the community. Supporters of HFOT’s mission and the local community come together to help raise awareness for this new home project. In celebration of the project’s kickoff, our Veterans and their families, with shovels in hand, turn over the inaugural mound of soil at the construction site, optimistic of the bright and new beginning the new home will represent.
What is a Volunteer Day? In the weeks and months that follow the Groundbreaking, the General Contractor and their licensed professionals complete the shell and all of the customized interior work on the home. The community is then invited to attend a Volunteer Day, to help put the final touches on the exterior grounds and help with the home’s landscaping plans. Volunteers come by the numbers to lay down sod, plant trees and flowers, and make the home a truly welcoming site for the Veteran and family in anticipation of their move-in date.
What is a Key Ceremony? Weeks later when the finished home is turned over at an official Key Ceremony with community members and dignitaries, our Veterans raise the American flag and cut the yellow ribbon outside their new home. These are gestures of patriotism and service symbolizing our Veterans letting go of the barriers that previously prohibited them from living independently. Freedom in the way of a fully accessible home-has arrived at last for our Hero.
What happens if you don’t have enough funds to complete the build project? We carefully manage our build schedule with our revenue flow to ensure we continue to build a home for every Veteran brought into our program.
How do I interview someone at HFOT? Please contact our Marketing department at 508-823-3300 Ext 243.
How do I contact you? Email us at email@example.com; call us at 508-823-3300.
How do I start a fundraiser? Click here for fundraising ideas and tips on how to organize a successful fundraiser or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I contact a Veteran? Due to privacy issues, we do not provide the contact information of our Veterans. We can provide your contact information to Veterans as appropriate.
Why don’t you advertise? How come we’ve never heard of you guys? We see ads for other organizations all the time. To keep over 90 cents of each dollar going to support our Veterans, we made a deliberate decision to minimize the amount of money we spend on advertising. While we are working to develop more national exposure, we firmly believe our success in growth these past ten years is due to our outreach at the local community level where our Veterans live. We are a grassroots organization, and our approach to advertising mirrors who we are.
Who are some of your sponsors? Sponsors include Armstrong (flooring), Kohler (plumbing fixtures), Whirlpool (appliances), CertainTeed (roofing, drywall &insulation), Mastic (siding), Cargill Beef, BlueLine Rental (formerly Volvo Rents), CertaPro, Veterans United Home Loans, and defense contractors L-3 and BAE Systems.
What kind of financial support are we talking about with those sponsors? Homes for Our Troops respects both our Veterans and our sponsors’ privacy, and therefore does not comment on the specifics of relationships. Each sponsorship package is customized to meet the needs of the corporation. Some sponsors provide monetary donations; others provide services or building material (in-kind donations) or a combination of both.
How many homes have you completed? We have delivered 170 homes as of November 12, 2014, providing those Veterans a significant advantage as they rebuild their lives. During the year, we can have upwards of 55 active build projects for Veterans nationwide in various stages of construction.
Do you rehab homes? Not at this time. We build new specially adapted homes.
Have you ever rehabbed a home? We participated in the Home Award Program for a limited time, assisting 24 Veterans and Families to receive foreclosed homes that were rehabilitated by financial institutions. These homes were also provided at no cost to the Veteran to assist them in rebuilding their lives.
How much do your homes cost? The average cost of land, labor, and materials outside of California is $430,000. Homes built in California average $700,000.
How large are your homes? We build four bedroom, two bath, specially adapted energy efficient homes of approximately 2650 square feet. This provides the right size home for a Veteran to comfortably raise a family while limiting expenses for utilities.
How do you ensure quality control during construction? To build one of our specially adapted homes, HFOT selects a local licensed General Contractor (GC) to oversee daily site activities and coordinate local trades. GCs are screened for quality and a background check is performed to ensure only the most ethical and conscientious are chosen. Each home is built using one of HFOT's proprietary home plans with GCs strictly following our detailed installation and quality control steps. HFOT developed these plans based on years of experience building specially adapted homes. During construction each home is physically inspected by our team of construction managers a minimum of three times, and all stages of construction are verified through digital photo documentation in advance of payment to the general contractor. This ensures homes are built to the Homes for Our Troops’ standard, meet the requirements of Energy Star, and pass the Veteran Administration’s guidelines for accessibility.