About a month ago I received an email from James Kelly who writes a blog: VA Benefits. James wanted to know if I would allow him to do a series of guest posts focusing on subsidized housing financing for our veterans. So, it is my pleasure to post this article on his behalf:
Written by James Kelly,
Coming home relieves our military members of their duties overseas. Even though the return is anticipated, certain challenges present themselves quickly. For thousands of veterans, getting proper medical care poses obstacles. But employment and housing don’t always come easy either.
A common effect of serving during war time, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) causes a number of serious side effects. Nearly 150,000 veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with the disorder. Getting disability claims for PTSD was a chore until recent amendments from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans also come home looking for jobs and homes. As with any economic contraction, jobs aren’t abundant. Combine that with veterans adjusting to life at home, and getting hired seems less likely. Last spring, legislators recognized the struggles veterans face when searching for employment by introducing the Veterans Assistance Employment Act to spur veteran employment. But housing still remains a challenge.
The VA has a program available to honorably-discharged veterans and qualifying active-duty members. Because of frequent relocation, military members may find it difficult to build credit or save money. The Veterans Affairs Home Loan Guaranty program accommodates these hurdles to help veterans find a home.
VA loans do not have income requirements, making them more accessible to veterans looking for work. A host of financial benefits come with VA loans, such as paying no money down. To buy a house worth up to $417,000—or higher in expensive markets—qualifying borrowers don’t put a penny down.
Other loan advantages include:
- – Negotiable interest rates
- – No private monthly mortgage insurance
- – Sellers covering up to 6 percent of closing and concession costs
- – Refinancing options that can lower interest rates
Not all veterans qualify for the home loan program, but working with a VA-certified lender maximizes veterans’ benefits. A trustworthy lender will also aid veterans in finding an affordable home once they return from service.
The federal government has also developed a new program designed by the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to introduce new ways to prevent homelessness. This innovative joint federal program aims to get hundreds of homeless vets off the streets and into new homes in the next several years.
Finally, many military families are surprised that the federal first-time home buyer tax credit remains available to them through April 30th, 2011, even though it is nearly expired for most other home buyers. As long as the qualified service member has a sales contract on April 30th, and has closed by June 30th, 2011, he or she will be eligible for up to $8,000 dollars in tax credits ($6,500 for repeat home buyers). This valuable program can do a lot to help a veteran and his or her family make a new home a reality.
All of these resources exist to help veterans overcome the housing challenge. When used in combination, these programs are a great tool in the fight to provide every American serviceman and servicewoman with a place to call home.
Thank you to James Kelley! To reach James with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPORTANT: Added 12/8/2012:
I just got an email asking me to add this important link related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: http://www.ptsdalliance.org/
This site provides great information, has numerous resources, and also discusses substance abuse treatment. Something that many other organizations fail to
recognize yet is a very common challenge people suffering from PTSD encounter.