This week, we are reminded to take a day and reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women who serve our country. We are told to honor our heroes, and to thank them for their service. Here at Habitat, we are also reminded of the ways that we are able to give back to those who have given so much of themselves. According to a research by National Low Income Housing Coalition, 26% of approximately 20 million veterans experienced housing burdens and about 1.5 million veterans spend more than 50% of their income on housing. In 2011, about 76% of veteran households were severely burdened by housing costs. So, what can we as an organization do to help?
Habitat for Humanity International is actively working to address the needs of veterans through several initiatives, including Repair Corps and Veterans Build. These programs provide volunteers, homeownership, and employment opportunities to support U.S. veterans and their families through local Habitat affiliates. The initiative goes beyond just meeting housing needs by also addressing reintegrating civilian life, engaging veterans in their communities, and providing veterans with technical and leadership skills. Veterans Build, for example, focuses on five key areas: home building and remodeling, engaging returning service men and women as volunteers, connecting veterans to employment opportunities, educating veterans and their families on financial literacy, and honoring our veterans with special events.
What makes Habitat for Humanity such a strong resource for veterans? Through partnerships, their homes can be repaired to be more energy efficient and cost effective. Veterans have the chance to support and strengthen their community and to work with other families and future homeowners through many volunteer opportunities. According to Habitat for Humanity International, over 500 housing builds have been completed with veteran families.
This Veterans Day, take the opportunity to say thanks. From all of us at Habitat Michigan, thank you for your service!
For volunteer opportunities or to learn more about the Veterans Build, visit http://www.habitat.org/volunteer/near-you/veterans-build
Special Programs Coordinator