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A guide to home repair grants for veterans

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As a veteran, you’re eligible for great housing benefits in appreciation of your service. In addition to VA home loans and competitive home insurance rates, there are many grants that are available to veterans when it comes to making home repairs and improvements for accessibility. This guide to home repair grants for veterans details everything you need to know about the federal grants that are out there, as well as some of the major nonprofit programs at your disposal too.

Get home repair assistance from the VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of different grants and loans to help veterans with improving their homes. Each one is listed below:

  • Cash-out refinance loans
  • Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant
  • Specially Adapted Housing grant
  • Special Home Adaptation grant
  • Temporary Residence Adaption grant
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Before you dive into what each offers, check to see if you qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This certificate requires that you weren’t dishonorably discharged and that you’re eligible based on a minimum active-service requirement. Other specific conditions and necessary documents are outlined here. If you know you’re qualified for a COE, read on to learn about each loan or grant, their additional eligibility requirements and how to apply.

 

Cash-out refinance loans

A cash-out refinance loan is backed by the VA and allows you to replace an existing loan with one that has new conditions.

What is it used for?

This loan offers the ability to refinance a non-VA loan or take money out of your home’s equity to make home improvements or finance other needs.

Eligibility requirements:

  • You must qualify for a VA-backed home loan Certificate of Eligibility.
  • You must meet both your lender’s and the VA’s standards for income and credit, as well as any other requirements.
  • The home you are seeking to use the loan for is your primary residence.

How to apply:

  1. Pick a lender for your loan. Your lender can be a private or government institution like a credit union or bank. Know that fees may be different depending on the lender, so it’s wise to compare lenders before you choose.
  2. Apply for your Certificate of Eligibility on the VA site. Your lender will need to see this as evidence that you qualify for a VA-backed cash out refinance loan.
  3. Submit the following required documents to your lender.
    • W-2s from the past two years
    • Copies of federal income tax returns from the past two years
    • Pay stubs from the last 30 days
    • Any other documents required by your lender
  4. Pay closing fees. VA funding fees may be associated with obtaining your loan.

Grants for veterans with disabilities

Many federal home repair grants are provided in particular for veterans that require home adaptations for disabilities. Read more about HISA, SAH, SHA and TRA grants that provide housing solutions for health and accessibility reasons.

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Federal disability housing grant

Maximum amount offered

Specially Adapted Housing$100,896
Special Home Adaptation$20,215
Temporary Residence Adaptation

$40,637 if SAH eligible

$7,256 if SHA eligible

Home Improvements and Structural Alterations

$6,800 lifetime benefit for a service-related condition

$2,000 lifetime benefit for a non-service related condition

 

Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant (HISA)

The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant helps provide any alterations or improvements to a veteran’s home that are considered medically necessary.

What is it used for?

HISA grants are used for the following structural home improvements:

  • Outfitting an accessible entrance and exit from their home
  • Alterations for an accessible bathroom
  • Improving accessibility to sinks or counters (e.g. lowering kitchen counters/sinks)
  • Facilitating home access with permanent ramping
  • Redoing electrical or plumbing to aid in the installation of home medical equipment

Improvements regarding smart home technology, recreational equipment like hot tubs, security systems, removable accessibility equipment and regular repairs aren’t covered by HISA.

Maximum amount offered:

  • $6,800 lifetime benefit for a service related condition or non-service related condition with a 50% or higher connection to service
  • $2,000 lifetime benefit for a non-service related condition

Eligibility and application requirements:

  • Signed and completed Veterans Application for Assistance
  • Prescription from or approved by a VA doctor with the following:
    • Name, address and phone number of the beneficiary
    • The identified structural alteration(s)
    • Medical diagnosis and justification for the identified alteration(s)

 

Specially Adapted Housing grant (SAH)

The Specially Adapted Housing grant is meant to support veterans who have severe burn injuries and impaired mobility due to service.

What is it used for?

This grant is used to adapt housing for the following purposes:

  • Constructing a home on pre-owned land as long as it’s suitable for SAH
  • Building a specially adapted home for the needs of the veteran on land that is still to be purchased
  • Renovating a current home if suitable for SAH
  • Using for the payment of the unpaid principal mortgage balance of an already adapted home

Maximum amount offered: $100,896 in 2021

The money received from a SAH grant can be used on six different occasions over your lifetime.

Eligibility requirements:

To be eligible for a SAH grant, a veteran must have permanent and total disabilities as a result of service. Disabilities where a veteran experiences a combination of loss of limbs, blindness or burn injuries, may qualify. For a complete list of eligible disabilities, see this handbook.

 

Special Home Adaptation grant (SHA)

The Special Home Adaptation grant is intended to support veterans who have lost the use of their hands, experience severe respiratory or burn injuries, or are blind.

What is it used for?

SHA grants are used for the following home adaptation purposes:

  • Adapting a home that is yet to be purchased or that a family member has yet to purchase
  • Adapting a home that is owned or owned by a family member
  • Purchasing or applying to the unpaid balance of a pre-adapted home with necessary features as deemed by the VA

Maximum amount offered: $20,215 in 2021

The money received from an SHA grant can be used on six different occasions over your lifetime.

Eligibility requirements:

Veterans with the following disabilities as a result of service are eligible for an SHA grant:

  • Having blindness in both eyes
  • Having 20/200 vision or less in the better eye with visual correction lens
  • Loss of use or loss of both hands
  • Total and permanent disability from severe burn injuries
  • Specific respiratory conditions

 

Temporary Residence Adaptation grant (TRA)

The purpose of the Temporary Residence Adaptation grant is to aid SHA or SAH eligible veterans that are residing temporarily in a home owned by a family member. Family members must be related by marriage, adoption or blood.

What does it offer?

Allows veterans who are eligible for either a SAH or SHA grant to adapt a residence where they are living temporarily and that is not owned by them.

Maximum amount offered:

  • $40,637 limit in 2021 when eligible for a SAH grant
  • $7,256 limit in 2021 when eligible for a SHA grant

Eligibility requirements:

  • Must qualify for either a SAH or SHA grant
  • Must temporarily reside with a person related by blood, adoption or marriage

 

Applying for a federal home repair grant

In order to be given any of these federal home repair grants, you must first apply. Cash-out refinance loans must be applied for with your chosen lender. When applying for any of the other federal disability housing grants, visit the VA’s eBenefits site.

Seek out nonprofit home repair programs

The federal government isn’t the only source of assistance for veterans when it comes to housing aid. Nonprofit organizations offer grants and programs to honor and support our military heroes. Check out a few programs below.

 

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Habitat for Humanity - Repair Corps program

The nonprofit housing organization, Habitat for Humanity, has a Repair Corps program to aid veterans with both critical home repairs and standard home repairs.

What does it offer?

Repair Corps offers critical home repairs, which are any home repairs that are necessary to enhance critical life, health and safety of the veteran. Examples of critical home repairs include accessibility modifications and the extension or installation of electrical and plumbing systems.

The program also helps to support standard home repairs for veterans when funds are available, but critical repairs are the priority.

Eligibility requirements:

All veterans with an honorable discharge are eligible for this program, regardless of group identity. The home being repaired must not be a rental, and it has to be the veteran’s primary residence.

 

Purple Heart Homes

Purple Heart Homes offers housing solutions for veterans through two distinct programs: Veterans Aging in Place (VAIP) and Veterans Home Ownership Program (VHOP).

What does it offer?

Veterans Aging in Place (VAIP): The VAIP program is meant to help veterans make safety or accessibility repairs to a home they own.

Veterans Home Ownership Program (VHOP): The VHOP program matches veterans who are looking to own a home with homes that are able to be modified to their health needs.

Eligibility requirements:

Veterans don’t need to be awarded a Purple Heart to apply. See eligibility factors below:

  • A veteran must receive at least a 10% related service disability rating from the VA.
  • Financial and personal background checks are also used to determine eligibility.

Learn about what goes into the application packet and apply here.

 

Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront provides critical financial assistance for repairs and family expenses to eligible veterans and service members.

What does it offer?

Based on eligibility, financial assistance is given for a range of expenses including home repairs, auto repairs, moving and relocation, utilities, transportation, medical and food assistance.

Eligibility requirements:

Deployed service members and honorably discharged veterans with the following are eligible:

  • Members who actively served in the U.S. military and suffered an service-related injury or illness after 9/11.
  • Veterans must be honorably discharged.
  • Active service member with rank E-1-E-6 and DEERS-eligible/legal dependents and meets one of the following:
    • Currently deployed overseas and earning Hostile Fire Pay (HFP)
    • Serving on a ship that has been at sea for 30+ days with mission status
    • Being paid Hostile Fire Pay while unaccompanied on overseas PCS orders
    • Reservist on Title 10 orders (either returned from HFP in last 180 days or will be deployed with HFP in next 90 days)
    • National Guard member

If any of these requirements are met, apply during the initial application period (1st through the 10th of each month) on the Operation Homefront site.

 

Rebuilding Together, Inc. - Veterans at Home

The Veterans at Home program seeks to help veterans and their families improve the safety, accessibility, and independence of their homes.

What does it offer?

Home modifications are offered at no cost through local affiliates. These include:

  • Rehabilitation of the whole home for safety
  • Accessible home modifications
  • Facilitation of aging in place

Eligibility requirements:

Eligibility varies based on local applications. To apply and view eligibility requirements, find your local Rebuilding Together affiliate here.

Ways to give back to veterans

While the federal government and private organizations offer support to our veterans, there are ways that civilians can give back to them for their service too. Explore a few different ways to support a vet and make sure to check out our printable below to show your gratitude with a thank you note.

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Help build a house

Many veterans are in need of home repairs or adapted housing. Join a home building organization like Habitat for Humanity or Building Homes for Injured Veterans to give back and help be a part of creating housing solutions for veterans.

 

Train a service dog for a vet

Apply to train service dogs for veterans. Service dogs help with a range of conditions such as PTSD or disabilities. There are a variety of training programs such as K9 Partners for Patriots or Pups 4 Patriots, and they all vary in length, cost and whether they provide a dog for you to train.

 

Volunteer at a nonprofit or VA organization

When veterans re-enter civilian life, they often need more than just housing support. Many nonprofits and VA facilities offer educational, career, financial and mental health assistance to help reacclimate vets. Volunteer with a local nonprofit or find a VA facility near you.

 

Thank them with a letter

One of the simplest ways to show gratitude to our veterans is with our words. Write a thank you letter to a vet for their service. Feel free to use our thank you letter printable below and recruit friends and family for a gratitude activity. This is also a great way to get kids involved by writing and drawing cards to send out to vets. If you don’t personally know a veteran, you can submit your letter through Operation Gratitude.

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Thank you letter printable
Download

There are many avenues for vets to find housing solutions and funding within the federal government and through nonprofit organizations. We hope this guide to home repair grants for veterans provides the information necessary to help foster safe and healthy home environments for our servicemen and women. Remember to protect any special home modifications, adaptations or improvements paid for with home repair grants with your homeowners insurance.

Check out these veteran housing resources for buying a home and insurance for more information as well.

 

Sources: U.S. VA Handbook for SAH and SHA Grants | VA Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Services

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