The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced $3.9 million in funding through the Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program (VHRMP), a program designed to create more-accessible homes for disabled veterans.
The VHRMP was formed in order to "explore the potential benefits of awarding grants to nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate and modify the primary residence of veterans who are low-income and have disabilities," according to HUD.
Those listed below who have received these competitively awarded grants will now be financially able to make necessary physical modifications to address the needs of eligible veterans, including wheelchair ramps, widening doors, reconfiguring bathrooms, and modifying homes to accommodate a veteran’s caregiver.
“We stand by those who have served and are proud to have these funds make housing more accessible for low-income and disable veterans,” said John Gibbs, Acting Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, which administers the program at HUD.
- Louisiana's St. Bernard Project will receive $1,000,000. (The organization’s match for this project is $500,000, and an additional $500,000 will be leveraged.) The St. Bernard Project, based in New Orleans, is recognized as a leader in disaster recovery. It has rebuilt over 2,200 homes for low-to-moderate income families and veterans. They will use the grant award to rebuild, repair and/or modify 22 homes for veterans in Louisiana (New Orleans), Texas (Houston and Brazoria County), Puerto Rico, Florida (Panama City), and the coasts of New York and New Jersey.
- Michigan's Habitat for Humanity, located in Lansing, will receive $1,000,000. (The organization’s match for this project is $1,022,055), and $902,500 will be leveraged). The Habitat Affiliate Support Organization, incorporated in 1993 as a non-profit, provides education, technical assistance, and financial resources to Habitat affiliate offices statewide. The organization will work with 77 low-income and disabled veterans to make necessary critical interior and exterior housing modifications, rehabilitation, and repairs over the three-year project period. The types of rehab and modifications that are needed will vary by individual household situations and will include accessibility modifications to enable long-term aging in place, as well as critical home repairs required to ensure health, safety, energy efficiency and affordability.
- District of Columbia's Rebuilding Together, Inc. will receive $999,992. (The non-profit's match for this project is $500,500, and $500,500 will be leveraged. This is a national non-profit organization with over 32 years of experience in home rehabilitation and community revitalization including an existing veterans housing initiative. The organization has a network of 127 affiliated non-profit organizations in 38 states and the District of Columbia, carrying out housing rehabilitation and modification activities benefitting low-income persons, including military veterans, and persons with disabilities. Rebuilding Together affiliates will carry out these services at the local level. Funding from this grant will be used by affiliates to modify and repair homes for 70 eligible veterans nationwide.
- Georgia's Habitat for Humanity will receive $1,000,000. (The non-profit's match is $500,000, plus, $200,000 will be leveraged). Located in Americus, this is a private faith-based, ecumenical Christian organization that has helped affiliates build and rehabilitate more than 175,000 affordable homeownership housing units in partnership with low-income people in the United States since 1976. Its mission is carried out locally throughout the nation by approximately 1,290 affiliates that operate within a specific geographic service area in Habitat’s service area. In 2013, Habitat established a veterans department to provide a greater focus on assisting low-income veterans through new homes, rehabilitation, or repairs. Habitat has served just over 5,000 veterans through new construction, rehabilitation, or repairs. Funding from this grant will be used by affiliates to modify and repair homes for 90 eligible veterans with an average grant amount of $10,000.
The creation of VHRMP and competition guidelines:
In accordance with section 1079 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Pubic Law 113-291, enacted December 19, 2014-"Program Statute"), the VHRMP provides competitive grants of up to $1 million each to nonprofit organizations that provide nationwide or statewide programs that primarily serve veterans and/or low-income individuals.
In addition to modifying or rehabilitating eligible veterans’ primary residence, grants may also be used toward technical, administrative, and training support in connection with those services. In the FY 2020 competition for VHRMP grants, HUD was able to award up to $9,445,980, including $4 million in new funding provided under the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-94, approved December 20, 2019) and $5,445,980 in remaining VHRMP funding provided under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-141) and the Consolidated Appropriations Action, 2019 (Public Law 116-6).