Imagine fighting in a war and being so severely wounded that your entire life changes before your eyes. Gone are the days of being able to live on your own or walk through your house the way you were able to prior to the war. Gone are the days of mobility and being able to move freely throughout your four walls.
What would you do if you traveled thousands of miles to fight for your country and suffered a life-altering injury? It is from this need that the idea for Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) was born.
Would you be able to learn to live a normal life? How would your family have to adapt to these new changes? Homes for Our Troops works to restore mobility and independence to disabled veterans.
The mission statement for Homes for Our Troops is simple and straight-forward. Their goal is to build and donate a specially adapted home and customized home for a severely disabled veteran. They primarily focus on the injured veterans who have served post-September 11th.
The need for these homes is great, especially for someone such as a severely injured veteran. Many of the veterans who have received these donated homes have lost multiple limbs, suffered traumatic brain injuries, or been paralyzed.
The challenges these veterans face with everyday living could seem insurmountable to some people. Homes for Our Troops is making sure the Veterans and their families can face the challenge head-on.
Facts and Figures
Homes for Troops is a 501(c)3 non-profit, privately funded organization.
Since the organization's founding founded in 2004, over 40 homes have been built and customized for disabled veterans. The veterans who have received these homes have had to pay exactly $0 to live in the home and will never have a mortgage payment.
Of every dollar raised for Homes for Our Troops, 90 cents goes directly to the building of the homes.
The future number of veterans serving since 9/11 is projected to increase significantly over the next several years. There is no doubt that the need for specially adapted and customized homes for these veterans is going to continue to increase as well.
Homes for Our Troops' Reputation and Rating
Charity Navigator gives Homes for Our Troops a rating of three out of four stars. This charity earned 85.53 points out of 100 for financial management and 100 out of 100 for accountability and transparency.
Homes for Our Troops' financial data
Every tax-exempt organization, nonexempt charitable trust, and section 527 political organization must file a Form 990 or 990EZ with the IRS.
Homes for Our Troops' most recent IRS Form 990 or 990EZ available is for 2017. We extracted the following financial information from the organization’s most recent publicly available tax filing for their fiscal year ending September 2017. This financial detail can give you a better idea of whether they use their resources responsibly. In this way, you can make your own assessment as to whether Homes for Our Troops is a worthy charity.
Percentage of donations spent on services
- Total donations and grants: $24,037,813
- Spent on services and grants: $23,772,867
- Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 98.89 Percent
Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising
- Total revenue: $24,373,983
- Fundraising expenses: $1,541,742
- Paid to professional fundraisers: $18,000
- Percentage of total revenue spent on Fundraising: 6.32 percent
Administrative and overhead costs
- Overhead expenses: $1,471,547
- Property assets: $1,528,715
- Investment assets: $5,292,426
- Paid to officers/directors: $373,722 ()
- Highest paid officer/director: Director $165,380
- Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors Salaries: 1.53 percent
What is a Specially Adapted Home?
For the veteran that has been permanently disabled, there are many different modifications made to these homes to help them adapt to their new life. There are actually over 40 different modifications available to accommodate a variety of injuries.
All homes are built brand new from the ground up. There are three different home plans to choose from, and then you can modify each of the various home plans.
Each home is approximately 2,650 square feet and has many special adaptations to assist those that are disabled and severely injured.
Some of the features you might find in the adapted home from Homes for Our Troops include lowered countertops along with lowered appliances, roll-under access for a wheelchair, and widened doorways and hallways.
Other possible modifications could include roll-in showers, automatic doors, hardwood floors, and even pull-down shelving. These are just a small representation of some of the amazing modifications you can find within the homes. All of these are designed with the injured veteran in mind and making life as comfortable as possible.
The assistance to the veteran doesn’t stop when they hand the keys over, either. Homes for Our Troops works with each family to help them achieve financial stability. There is a program in place to eventually allow the veteran the ability to own the equity in the home.
The HFOT organization also provides resources for various topics that the veteran may need additional help on. Whether it’s homeownership, VA benefits, or resources for mental health, the assistance is on-going and for the entire family.
Who Runs the Homes for Our Troops Organization?
Homes for Our Troops was originally founded in 2004 by John Gonsalves. Gonsalves has since moved on from a leadership role within the company.
Today, there are two members of the Senior Leadership Team that are guiding the HFOTC everyday operations. Brigadier General USA (RET) Tom Landwermeyer is the current President and CEO. Bill Ivey, also retired from the US Army, acts as the Executive Director.
In addition to the Senior Leadership Team, Homes for Our Troops also has a Board of Directors. Currently, there are 18 members with various military and homebuilding backgrounds that are serving on the Board.
Ways to Volunteer
There are several ways to donate to this organization, both financially and with your time. If you have the time, you can volunteer in the following ways:
1. Attend a build event
You can attend three different events surrounding the build of one home. There is a Community Kickoff, a Volunteer Day, and finally, the Key Ceremony where the veteran receives the keys to their new home.
Imagine the delight you will see on the faces of the veteran and their family members when they realize their dream of home ownership is about to become a reality.
You can always go to the Homes for Our Troops' website and check out the various build events (and other types of events) for each of the homes.
2. Host or attend a fundraiser
Fundraisers for the Homes for Our Troops organizations takes place with many different types of events. Whether it’s a golf outing, a clay shooting, or trivia night -- there are multiple creative ways you can help with a fundraiser.
Homes for Our Troops encourages all types of fundraisers and has quite a bit of material available to assist in pulling the plans together.
3. Run for Team HFOT
If you’re a runner, and you want to help raise funds for HFOT, you can sign up to run in one of the scheduled races on the calendar. Or you can support a runner and help them with the fundraising efforts if you don’t think you want to actually do the running.
Ways to Donate Financially
As a non-profit, HFOT depends heavily on monetary donations too. There are several ways you can show your support financially for the Homes for Our Troops organization.
1. One-time or monthly donation
You can donate any amount at any time right on the website www.hfotus.org. You can choose whether you donate once or set up a reoccurring monthly donation. There are also individuals you can work with in the organization who can help you donate a part of your estate planning.
2. Purchase from the online store
There are several items available for purchase on their website, ranging from tote bags to tumblers. It’s also a great way to purchase a gift for someone while donating to the HFOT at the same time.
3. Corporate sponsorships
There are many corporations that generously donate with financial support or physical products. If you own a business, then you can find out how your business can contribute to the building of these brand-new homes.
If you are a licensed real estate agent or a real estate professional, then there are also programs available for you to work with the Homes for Our Troops organization. The charity depends greatly on the real estate community both financially and with volunteer efforts.
4. Donate your car
If you have a car that you need to get rid of and you are contemplating sending it to the junkyard, then you can turn the car into a donation for the HFOT. The car will be picked up by them, auctioned off, and then the proceeds will go directly to the organization.
Homes for Our Troops is a reputable charity that has a passion for improving the lives of veterans. It is clear their motivation for building these homes is to take at least one burden off the shoulders of an injured veteran and their family.
With so much of every donation going straight to the bottom line, you can feel comfort in knowing that your donation will directly impact the life of someone who has given so much for their country. Not only will it impact their lives, but it can also positively impact the lives of their families.