Petty Officer Second Class, United States Navy Veteran
Disabled Veterans National Foundation Offer Rent and Utility Assistance
The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) offers grants to qualified veterans to help defer costsassociated with mortgages, rents and utilities. These individual, “emergency” grants offer assistance up to $1,000 for veterans who are struggling tomake the ends meet, especially during the winter season when heating, gas and electric bills are at the highest.
According to the DVNF, the overriding concern is not necessarily paying monthly bills, but preventing homelessness. Since DVNF's inception, combatinghomelessness among veterans is the organization's top priorities.
The number of veterans and disabled veterans in low-income or subsidized housing has increased recently, and with that increase, many veterans areoften just one unpaid bill away from eviction. Further, homelessness among veterans has also dramatically escalated since the early 2000s, especiallyamong the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran population.
Though these “emergency” grants are a temporary fix, it prevents another growing problem among low-income veterans: payday loans. Payday loan centersoffer quick money to desperate people at exorbitant fees, and perpetuate the poverty cycle.
The economic pressures hit the veteran population the hardest. More veterans are struggling to stay in their homes than ever before, and this is thereason behind the DVNF's “emergency” grant program. Each grant application is reviewed on an individual basis, often dependent on the type of needrequested and how many individuals are in the household.
DVNF's individual grants may be used for rent or mortgage, and for “essential” utilities, such as heating, water, electric and waste. Applications mustinclude DVNF's financial request form, copies of bills, copy of the veteran applicant's DD214 form and signed consent form. Further, DVNF encourages veterans to work with a caseworker from a local Veterans Affairs office ( VA) or any Veterans Service Organization (a list can be found at the VA). Coverletters are required with every application, and if a cover letter is written on the behalf of an applicant by a caseworker from the VA or VSO, itspeeds up the grant review process.
Many local and state veterans' departments also offer emergency grants to help alleviate household costs. Check with your local VA for availabilities.