According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, it is estimated that more than 25% of veteran households in the U.S. are cost burdened, and, of those, an estimated 1.5 million are severely cost burdened spending more than 50% of their income on housing. To address the issue, Habitat for Humanity International and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have partnered to implement a pilot program to increase affordable homeownership opportunities for the veteran population.

"At Habitat, we know that decent and affordable housing provides tremendous social and economic benefits. Veterans have sacrificed so much to serve our country. It is incumbent on us to serve them by helping them find long-term stability through safe and affordable shelter," says Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

Habitat’s Veterans Build program partners with veterans and their families to improve their lives through critical home repairs, new-home construction, community engagement and education, job training and employment opportunities.

Veterans who are enrolled in Veterans Build at Habitat affiliates in Saginaw, Michigan; Mingo County, West Virginia; or Will and DuPage counties in Illinois and in the Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program can use their HUD-VASH housing choice rental assistance vouchers to partially subsidize homeownership expenses for up to 10 or 15 years, depending on the mortgage term.

To help prevent future housing and personal crises, the VA will also provide ongoing case management and clinical services to enrolled veterans. "President Biden declared that America's sacred obligation is to ensure troops sent into harm's way are prepared, and veterans and their families are cared for when they return home," says Monica Diaz, executive director of the Veterans Health Administration Homeless Programs Office. "This partnership will be integral in fulfilling this obligation and improving the lives of thousands of veterans and their families. Every individual who has served our country deserves a safe, stable place to call home."