Overview of Helping a Hero's Wounded Hero Home Program
HelpingaHero.org is the 2nd largest national organization building homes for our severely wounded heroes injured in theater during the War on Terror. HelpingaHero.org is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to building adapted homes for our heroes who are missing limbs, are paraplegics, quadriplegics, severe burn victims, suffer from severe TBI, etc. We have awarded 100 homes in 22 states and are committed to helping our brave and courageous wounded warriors on their road to recovery.
The importance of helping our severely wounded Heroes
Excerpts taken from article written by CSM (Ret.) Larry Holland, U.S. Army (Ret.):
"Our wounded heroes need your help!! It’s just that simple! I had the privilege to serve on Active and Reserve Duty for 37 years. The Military Medician on the battlefield, hospital care and specialized rehab have done a wonderful job saving service members’ lives and helping with the recovery process. These wounded heroes are a part of the All-Volunteer force and they have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom. We must remember that Freedom is NOT Free. We owe it to our service members and their families to do everything we can to make their road to recovery successful."
Model Overview of Home Program
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 as often as possible in planned communities where they receive ongoing support from neighbors, the Home Owners Association, other military organizations and their local Rotary Club or other service organizations.
Many of these planned communities have homes available from $200,000-$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 veteran and their families. And all without the warrior needing to maintain a large yard, pool, etc.
While the average value of a completed home is about $250,000 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 needs of our wounded veterans. 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. 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 can also be used to cover the costs to modify the home).
Sixteen states have passed laws that exempt our wounded warriors who are 100% disabled from paying property taxes. Texas has even passed laws to provide Toll Free usage of our state toll roads. We have begun to work with state legislatures in states that do not currently exempt our heroes from property taxes to pass laws to exempt them from property taxes. Since they are on a fixed disability income and have sacrificed so much for our freedom, it is important that we do not take this limited income in taxes.
Part of the selection process involves financially evaluating the veteran to insure 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.
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 $200,000 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 $50,000 and award it to another injured veteran in the community. (If the veteran has also utilized his/her SAH grant money, this amount will also be refunded.)
If a wounded warrior dies during the 10 year contract period and is married, the home will go to the spouse. If the wounded warrior is single, 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.
Model Formula for our Wounded Hero Home Program
- Average Cost of Home: $250,000
- Developer donates lot: $50,000
- Builder matches lot value: $50,000
- Cash raised from community: $100,000
- Veteran mortgage: $50,000