No. This is a holistic one to three-year transition program designed to prepare honorably discharged veterans and their families for the responsibilities of home ownership. Veterans are required to demonstrate an ability to care for the home while in the program, to ensure they don’t lose the home once deeded. Veterans must complete regular and continuing financial counseling, work to achieve mutually agreed upon goals to increase savings and reduce debt, attend required medical appointments, stay out of legal trouble and get involved in the community (volunteering, youth coaching, religious activity, etc.). Veteran families are required to pay all escrow, comply with applicable HOA requirements, and demonstrate progress to program caseworkers during regularly scheduled virtual and in-person home visits. Only upon successful completion of the transition program, are the homes deeded to the veteran.
The median home value is $135,000. Some smaller, rural or condo properties can be less and on rare occasion higher, depending on property location.
Small to large mortgage banks, companies, and private investors are the source of the donated homes. Importantly, the fair market value of the donated home is considered a tax-deductible contribution to a nonprofit organization (Operation Homefront).
Any honorably discharged veteran qualifies. Wounded, emotionally or mentally ill, or disabled veterans within seven years of discharge receive special consideration. Surviving spouses of service members killed in combat or while deployed to a combat theater of operations who are not remarried may also apply. A caseworker committee recommends the best candidate for each home from the applicants, while Operation Homefront executives make the final decision.
Homes are located throughout the United States. A small number are new homes, but the majority are distressed properties donated by mortgage companies and investors. Properties are renovated as required before being awarded to a family. Properties in high crime, drug traffic locations, or near known sexual predators are not a good fit for the program.
The Operation Homefront website has information required to get started (OperationHomeFront.org). The site also provides contact information of program staff should additional information be required.