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Veterans who have been injured in either Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, may be eligible for a free home from Homes For Our Troops! This service has provided dozens of free homes around the country for eligible veterans.
Who is eligible for a free home from Homes for Our Troops?
Homes for Our Troops provides gifted homes for veterans who meet the following criteria:
- The veteran must have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11.
- The veteran must be retired (or retiring) from service.
- The veteran must have a letter for eligibility from the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing Grant
- The veteran must use the home as their primary residence and agree to accept the responsibility of maintaining the home.
The VA’s Specially Adapted Housing Grant is only available to severely disabled veterans who meet one of the following criteria:
- Loss of (or loss of use of) both arms and/or both legs
- Blindness in both eyes (or light perception only)
- Certain severe burns
- Certain severe respiratory injuries
If you are not able to get a letter of eligibility from the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant, you may still be eligible. However, you will need a letter from the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant on the basis of having loss (or loss of use) of both hands. Blind veterans who meet the criteria for Legal Blindness may also be eligible, even without an eligibility letter.
According to Homes for Our Troops, most of the homes they have built are for veterans who have suffered multiple limb amputations, severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or partial/full paralysis. For a list of former recipients, check here.
What kind of homes does HFOT provide?
Homes for Our Troops provides four-bedroom, two-bath homes that are just over 2,800 square feet in size. The homes are designed to be energy-efficient and keep utility costs down, while providing enough space for the veteran to raise a family comfortably.
Some of the adaptations featured in a HFOT home include:
- Wide halls
- Wide doorways
- Automatic door openers
- Roll-under sinks, stovetops and counters
- Pull-down shelving
- Safe rooms
Where does HFOT build?
Since 2004, HFOT has built 290 adapted homes nationwide. You can see a nationwide map of their completed and in-progress homes here.
Are Homes for Our Troops houses actually free?
HFOT does not pay anything toward the cost of the home and there is no mortgage payment required. However, the veteran who receives a home is expected to pay homeowner’s insurance, taxes, maintenance and other fees associated with ongoing homeownership.
According to the HFOT website, veterans are not expected to pay a gift tax on the house either.
Is there a catch?
I wouldn’t call it a catch necessarily, but veterans are expected to live in the home for at least 10 years. HFOT places a 10 year lien on the property to ensure that it cannot be sold or endangered by foreclosure. Beginning in Year Six, the lien is forgiven at a rate of 20% per year. After 10 years, the lien disappears.
Here’s how to Apply for Homes for Our Troops!
You will need to visit the official Homes for Our Troops website and complete the application. They will review the information you provide and follow up, usually within about a week.