Petty Officer Second Class, United States Navy Veteran
The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) offers grants to qualified veterans to help defer costs associated with mortgages, rents and utilities. These individual, “emergency” grants offer assistance up to $1,000 for veterans who are struggling to make 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, combating homelessness 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 are often just one unpaid bill away from eviction. Further, homelessness among veterans has also dramatically escalated since the early 2000s, especially among 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 centers offer 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 the reason behind the DVNF's “emergency” grant program. Each grant application is reviewed on an individual basis, often dependent on the type of need requested 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 must include 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). Cover letters 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, it speeds 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.