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Homes for Our Troops

John Gonsalves heard on the news of a local solder coming home after being hit by a roadside bomb. Looking to volunteer his many years of building experience to help make the veteran’s home wheelchair accessible, Gonsalves found no such organization existed. In 2004, he founded Homes for Our Troops (HFOT).

Homes for Our Troops coordinates fundraising and contracting to build severely injured post-9/11 veterans an adaptive home at no cost, tailored toward their particular disabilities. This non-profit organization fundraises though both direct financial assistance as well as in-kind donations of material, land, and labor from builders and contractors. It then coordinates the building process.

The Veterans Administration provides a Specially Adapted Housing Grant of up to $63,780 for eligible veterans to reduce out-of-pocket costs in making their homes compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). HFOT uses that initial funding as a foundation for the new home (Note: most projects are new homes. Depending on real estate costs, some homes may instead be remodeled and/or expanded.)

Applying for assistance consists of two parts: determining preliminary eligibility online, then being sent an official application form. The basic eligibility page asks four questions:

  • Is your status as a veteran established as serving on active duty during "Wartime Service?"
  • Are you rated as having "permanent and total service connected" disability?
  • Were the injuries that qualify you for the SAH Grant received in a combat theater of operations, after September 11, 2001?
  • Have you received a n approval letter from the VA for your Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant (VA Form 26-4555)?

You must be eligible for the VA SAH grant to move forward in the process. HFOT will then contact you to discuss the program, your eligibility, and how to proceed. HFOT has built close to 100 homes in 38 states. Several more homes are in the fundraising and construction process, and many more are in the initial stages of development.

There are numerous ways you can help this great organization. You can donate money, stocks and/or mutual, or your vehicle. If you are in the building business, you can donate supplies, equipment, labor, or land to the numerous ongoing projects. Fundraise for HFOT in the best way you know how; join Steps Towards Home to sign up, use the HFOT name, and compete with other fundraising teams. And if you simply want to volunteer your time to help (food service, clean-up, registration, and set-up are important non-construction positions needing filling), you can sign up online.

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