Veterans are eligible for low-interest VA loans, but such loans often aren’t sufficient to transition a veteran from a renter to a homeowner. Fortunately, there are nonprofit organizations offering funds to help pick up some of the costs of home ownership, allowing those who served our country to own their small piece of it.
Dream Makers Program
The Dream Makers program provides grants for veterans and active-duty personnel to be used for down payments and closing costs on a first home. Income requirements must be met in order to be eligible. Eligible applicants may also have lost a home because of disaster or divorce. They may also be eligible if they have not owned a home in the previous three years.
The applicants must have preapproval from a mortgage lender and cannot have a gross income exceeding 80 percent of the median income for the area. Dream Makers offers grants of up to $5,000.
Military Housing Assistance Fund
This program aids in helping veterans and active-military members pay the closing costs on a new home. The MHAF negotiates directly with sellers to help with closing costs, which can add up to 2 to 5 percent of a home’s value. The service is free, and veterans and military members do not have to pay back any of the costs.
Disabled Veterans Grants
The VA offers housing grants to veterans with certain service-connected disabilities. The Specially Adapted Housing grant may be used to build a home adapted to the disabled veteran’s needs on land the veteran acquires, or in some situations it is used for land the veteran already owns if the property meets the requirements for SAH. Funds may be used for remodeling an existing dwelling if it is suitable for SAH. If the disabled veteran already has a mortgage on a home that has been previously adapted, it is possible to put the SAH grant toward that unpaid balance.
The Special Housing Adaptation grant provides funds for disabled veterans to adapt an existing home in which they or a family member already reside or for one they intend to purchase. SHA funds may also be used for a house that has already been adapted which the veteran or his family member plans to buy. Eligibility for either type of VA grant is limited to the most severely injured veterans, including those who lost the use of both arms or legs or who were blinded during their time of service. Veterans with certain severe burns are also eligible for the grants.
State and Local Programs
There are literally hundreds of state and local programs that provide housing grants to veterans in their area. One example is the Texas Home for Heroes program, which helps resident veterans with down payments of up to 5 percent of their loans. This program does not require the recipient to stay in the home for any length of time and is available to those who are not first-time home buyers. Atlanta’s Neighborhood Development Partnership veterans program offers as much as $7,500 in down payment assistance for qualified veterans.
- Military Housing Assistance Fund: Military Housing Assistance Fund (MHAF) Helps Military Families to Become Homeowners
- Pentagon Foundation: Dream Makers
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
- Down Payment Resource: Down Payment Help for Military and Veterans; Q1 Homeownership Program Index
A graduate of New York University, Jane Meggitt's work has appeared in dozens of publications, including PocketSense, Zack's, Financial Advisor, nj.com, LegalZoom and The Nest.