Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support

Contact: Dan Stern,
Shonterria Charleston,

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support

Funded by The Home Depot Foundation

Washington, D.C., July 24, 2020 – Veterans and their families in twelve rural communities will have better lives, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council. The Foundation is awarding grants totaling over $305,000 to twelve local nonprofit housing agencies around the country to preserve housing for veterans in rural America.

The funds are part of The Home Depot Foundation’s Veteran Housing Grants Program, which wascreated to support the development and repair of housing for veterans. Many of our veterans and their families face major housing challenges, often worsened by issues like unemployment, age and service-related disabilities. The Home Depot Foundation is dedicated to giving back to those who have already given so much for our country.

As part of its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) works with The Foundation to administer grants that bolster and support the work of rural nonprofit housing agencies to deliver critical housing support to veterans. “HAC is honored to continue its partnership with The Home Depot Foundation,” said David Lipsetz, HAC’s CEO. “Together we’ve helped strengthen the capacity of local rural organizations to build and preserve veteran housing units across rural America.”  As rural America is home to a disproportionately high number of service women and men; HAC remains deeply committed to supporting our nation’s service women and men by uplifting local nonprofits and their work to house and ensure the safe habitability of their homes and rural communities.

The grantee organizations – described below – provide a range of programs. With the grants, veterans who own homes in Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia will obtain critical repair assistance. Altogether, over 70 veterans and their families will benefit from these grants.

About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $335 million in veteran-related causes and improved more than 47,000 veteran homes and facilities in 4,500 cities. In 2018, the Foundation pledged an additional $250 million dollars to veteran causes, taking the total commitment to half a billion by 2025. To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at


About the Grantees

  • BDT Housing Services Enterprise, Walls, MS will utilize $30,000 to leverage the rehabilitation of five (5) homeowner units located in the lower Mississippi Delta Region.  For additional information on BDT Housing Services Enterprise, visit their GuideStar profile at
  • Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County, Frederick, MD will utilize $17,409 to complete modifications on two (2) units for elderly veterans in Frederick County, MD.  For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County, visit their website at
  • Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, in Chapel Hill, NC will utilize $30,000 to leverage the rehabilitation of three (3) homeowner units.  For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, visit their website at
  • Habitat for Humanity of Smith County, in Tyler TX will leverage $30,000 on the rehabilitation and modification of six (6) homeowner units.  For additional information on Habitat for Humanity of Smith County, visit their website at
  • NeighborWorks UMPQUA, in Roseburg, OR will leverage $30,000 on the rehabilitation and modification of ten (10) homeowner units throughout rural Oregon.  For additional information on NeighborWorks UMPQUA, visit their website at
  • Rebuild Upstate, in Greenville, SC will utilize $30,000 to leverage the rehabilitation and accessibility modifications on four (4) homeowner units in rural South CarolinaFor additional information on Rebuild Upstate, visit their website at
  • Rebuilding Together Dutchess County, in Poughkeepsie, NY will utilize $15,000 to leverage the rehabilitation of one (1) elderly homeowner units across rural New York.  For additional information on Rebuilding Together Dutchess County, visit their website at
  • Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, in Minneapolis, MN will utilize $7,000 to leverage the rehabilitation of two (2) homeowner units in rural Minnesota.  For additional information on Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, visit their website at
  • Southern Appalachian Labor School, in Kincaid, WV will utilize $25,908 to support the rehabilitation of twenty (20) homeowner units in Appalachia.  For additional information on Southern Appalachian Labor School, visit their website at
  • Southwestern Regional Housing and CDC, in Deming, NM, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation of ten (10) homeowner units across the Southwest Border Colonias.  For additional information on Southwestern Regional Housing and CDC, visit their website at
  • St. Mary Community Action Agency, in Franklin, LA, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation of six (6) homeowner units in the lower Mississippi Delta.  For additional information on St. Mary Community Action Agency, visit their website at
  • White Mountain Apache Housing Authority, in Whiteriver, AZ, will utilize $30,000 to support the rehabilitation of three (3) homeowner units on the Fort Apache Reservation.  For additional information on White Mountain Apache Housing Authority, visit their website at


HAC Joins Summit on Addressing the Needs of Aging Veterans

On Friday, October 20, 2017, the Housing Assistance Council joined The Home Depot Foundation and the National League of Cities to support Purple Heart Homes in their 1st Annual Veterans Aging Summit. Held at the University of North Carolina, the summit convened nonprofit practitioners, Veterans’ service organizations, researchers, educators, public policy makers, community leaders, government representatives, and other interested stakeholders to collaborate on identifying and meeting the needs of aging Veterans and their caregivers.

HAC's Shonterria Charleston, Karen Boyce (The Veteran's Place) and Retha Patton (Eastern Eight CDC) discuss housing rural veteransHAC’s Shonterria Charleston, Karen Boyce (The Veteran’s Place) and Retha Patton (Eastern Eight CDC) discuss housing rural veterans.

HAC coordinated the Aging Veterans and Housing Panel, which featured two of its Home Depot Foundation-funded grantee organizations, The Veteran’s Place (Karen Boyce) and Eastern Eight Community Development Corporation (Retha Patton). Moderated by HAC’s Shonterria Charleston, the panel focused on housing (single and multifamily) and service provisions to aging veterans and provided context to rural challenges, best practices and opportunities for successful projects.

Funding support provided by The Home Depot Foundation

HAC's Joe Belden speaking at the Aging Veterans SummitHAC’s Joe Belden speaking at the Aging Veterans Summit.

Rural Seniors Get Housing Help from USDA

HAC’s Joe Belden published a post on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Health and Housing Expert Forum: Aging in Place in Rural Communities.

For older adults living in rural communities, the challenge of aging in place is often magnified. What specific programs and policies have proven successful and could be replicated?

Almost 26 percent of the nation’s seniors live in rural areas. As the baby boom generation continues to age, unique challenges will be placed on housing and supportive services for rural seniors, who experience more poverty than seniors nationally. Rural America is also aging faster than the nation overall, due to both natural population change and the continuing exodus of younger adults. Housing conditions are different for rural senior renters and homeowners. Rural seniors typically own their homes, many of them outright. While most seniors are happy with their homes, the physical changes of aging can impact the capacity to age in place successfully. Rural seniors who rent are also significantly more likely to experience problems with housing affordability than those who own.

Read the full post from the Bipartisan Policy Center.

woman-on-porch-oregonPhoto: CASA of Oregon

HAC Featured on Team Depot Facebook Page to Raise Funds for Rural Veterans

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is honored to be one of nine organizations chosen as Service Ambassadors for Team Depot and The Home Depot Foundation’s “Celebration of Service.” This effort runs through November 11, 2015.

The Team Depot Facebook page has published HAC’s spotlight post.


Likes, comments and shares of these spotlight posts will also equal $1 toward the $1 million goal. Mark your calendar for the HAC’s spotlight post will be published onMonday, September 21!

About HAC’s participation in the Celebration of Service

HAC will be working to raise funds for three grass-roots organizations in rural areas and partnering with Team Depot volunteers to improve housing conditions for aging and service-connected disabled veterans. These are veterans like Ben Mitchell, a cook in the Korean war. With HAC and Home Depot support Western Maine Community Action, one of the local partners, was able to complete an emergency replacement on his septic system to ensure his large family could remain in their home safely. Ben is featured in the Team Depot Spotlight post.

Rural Seniors and Their Homes: Planning for a Rapidly Aging Rural America

Material Posted

Power Point Presentation | Webinar Recording | Housing an Aging Rural America

With the Baby Boomer generation turning 65, the United States is experiencing growth among older adults that it has never before seen. According to U.S. Census projections, the over age 65 population is expected to grow by 30 million individuals by the year 2030, jumping from 13 percent of the national population to 20 percent. This is a staggering 35 percent increase over the next twenty years.

Rural America is older and aging faster than the nation overall with 15.7 percent of the rural population over the age of 65 compared to 13 percent nationally. The relatively older composition of the rural population is not solely a factor of natural population change but is also impacted by economic conditions. The increasing senior population in rural America will add new stresses to housing, health care, and social services that will be felt by our parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and even us. We must remember that this demographic change is not a negative development, as long as we plan and prepare for it. To ensure all individuals are able to live safely, comfortably, and in dignity as they age, we must first understand the issues, concerns, and trends that exist.

Join us on Tuesday, January 13th, for HAC’s upcoming webinar, Rural Seniors and Their Homes: Planning for a Rapidly Aging Rural America to learn more about the demographic, economic, and housing trends of seniors and near-seniors in rural America as well as their housing options. Housing provides shelter and often economic security, but for many seniors the home has even greater value. Homes contain reminders of life experiences and serve as a catalyst for active and healthy lifestyles. Seniors have special housing needs: access to health services, supportive services, and even companionship become critical and must be considered. The impacts of these issues play a considerable role in our seniors’ quality of life and cannot be overemphasized.

Rural Seniors and Their HomesDownload HAC’s Report, Housing an Aging Rural America: Rural Seniors and Their Homes.

HAC News: April 2, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 2, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 7

• April is National Fair Housing Month • House subcommittee hearing on FY15 RD budget set for Friday • Waters proposes GSE reform bill • USDA offers Household Water Well System grants • Deadline extended for RD environmental rules comments • NLIHC report confirms housing costs still out of reach • GAO addresses tribes’ housing challenges • New index shows wide opportunity gap for children of different races/ethnicities • Report stresses home- and community-based services for seniors • Rural housing and youth spotlighted in Rural Voices • HAC training “Housing for Seniors and Veterans in Rural America”

April 2, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 7

APRIL IS NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH. HUD offers information for download and a press release.

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON FY15 RD BUDGET SET FOR FRIDAY. At 10:00 a.m. Eastern time on April 4, USDA Rural Development officials will testify on the Administration’s FY15 budget request before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. The hearing will be webcast. Updates will be posted on HAC’s site.

WATERS PROPOSES GSE REFORM BILL. On March 27 Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released a discussion draft of a bill that would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a lender cooperative and would fund the National Housing Trust Fund. It would also replace the affordable housing goals, instead requiring the cooperative to “facilitate” service to all income levels, including borrowers in underserved urban and rural markets. There are also two proposals in the Senate (see HAC News, 3/19/14) and H.R. 2767, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), which passed the House Committee in July 2013 (see HAC News, 8/1/13).

USDA OFFERS HOUSEHOLD WATER WELL SYSTEM GRANTS. Nonprofits can use these funds to establish lending programs for homeowners, who can borrow up to $11,000 to construct or repair household water wells for existing homes. This year’s competition will give points to high-poverty places and to colonias or substantially underserved trust areas. Deadline is May 27. Contact Joyce M. Taylor, RUS, 202-720-9589.

DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR RD ENVIRONMENTAL RULES COMMENTS. Comments on environmental policies and procedures are now due May 7 instead of April 7. (See HAC News, 2/5/14.) Contact Mark S. Plank, RD, 202-720-1649.

NLIHC REPORT CONFIRMS HOUSING COSTS STILL OUT OF REACH. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report, prepared with HAC assistance for nonmetro data, shows a gap remains between rural rent and rural renters’ incomes. NLIHC estimates that the average hourly wage for nonmetro renters nationwide is $10.24, which falls $3 short of the Housing Wage necessary to afford a two-bedroom home at HUD’s Fair Market Rent. The nonmetro Housing Wage is out of reach for those earning the average renter wage in all but two states (Alaska and North Dakota), though the gap is very small in four other states (Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wyoming). The report and data for states, counties, and metro areas are online, as is a HAC Rural Research Note.

GAO ADDRESSES TRIBES’ HOUSING CHALLENGES. Native American Housing: Additional Actions Needed to Better Support Tribal Efforts, GAO-14-255, is based on site visits, interviews, and sources including HAC. It states that challenges tribes face in their use of Indian Housing Block Grant funds are “largely related to remoteness and other geographical factors, land use regulations, lack of adequate infrastructure, differing federal agency requirements, potential reduction in training opportunities and program support, limited administrative capacity, conflict within tribes, and cultural factors.” GAO recommends changes such as federal agency coordination of environmental impact requirements.

NEW INDEX SHOWS WIDE OPPORTUNITY GAP FOR CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT RACES/ETHNICITIES. Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Childrencompiles indicators on health, education, family environment, and neighborhood poverty into a single index and presents results for each state. Nationally, Asian/Pacific Islander and White children have far higher index scores than Latino and Native American children, and African-American children have the lowest. At the state level, the lowest scores were among American Indian children in South Dakota. Scores vary across states for all groups, but the range of scores is widest for American Indian children and narrowest for Latino children.

REPORT STRESSES HOME- AND COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES FOR SENIORS. Aging in Every Place: Supportive Service Programs for High and Low Density Communities says such services are a cost-effective way to help older adults maintain their quality of life as they age in their homes. Published by the Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference, the report notes that successful programs in rural places often offer transportation, use existing community centers, or bring services to the homes of those who are unable to travel.

RURAL HOUSING AND YOUTH SPOTLIGHTED IN RURAL VOICES. Looking to the Future: Housing and Youth in Rural America is the latest issue of HAC’s magazine. Sign up online for email notices when new issues are published, or request one free print subscription per organization from Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600.

JOIN HAC APRIL 22-23 FOR “HOUSING SENIORS AND VETERANS IN RURAL AMERICA: PRESERVATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND SERVICES,” held in Phoenix, AZ. The agenda, targeted to rural housing providers, will feature discussions of federal and other housing programs for veterans and the aging, including home repair, rental housing, and services for the homeless. Successful best practices will be featured. Register online.

Aging in Place Webinar

To have an event posted on our calendar*, please e-mail Dan Stern. Or send event description or brochure to:

Housing Assistance Council
Attn: Dan Stern
1025 Vermont Avenue, NW
Suite 606
Washington, DC 20005

Or fax to (202) 347-3441
Attn: Dan Stern


*Calendar Posting Guidelines:

HAC’s calendar posts announcements about periodic conferences, training sessions, audioconferences, and the like. Topics must be relevant to professionals in the rural housing and community development arena. HAC reserves the right to accept or decline any request to post an item. We do not include sessions provided by entities (for-profit or nonprofit) that offer numerous regularly scheduled training events; links to such entities are provided below.

Community Connections

HUD Calendar
Novogradac and Compan

Back to Trainings

Save the Date

Aging in Place Home Repair for Rural Seniors Webinar

Date: June 19, 2013
Time: 3:00 – 4:15 PM Eastern

Topics will include the USDA Section 504 grant program and leveraging weatherization dollars for senior home repair.
For information, contact Janice Clark at

Housing Seniors, One Person at a Time

Housing Seniors, One Person at a Time

By Janice Clark
June 21, 2012

“How many people in the room consider their home a safe and affordable place to live?” I asked, and not one person raised a hand.

I was at the B. S. Ricks Memorial Library, in Yazoo City, Miss., conducting a focus group meeting with senior residents. Yazoo City (population 11,403) is strikingly rural, with dirt roads and a small commercial area. Working with Linda Smith, executive director of theEsther Stewart Buford (ESB) Foundation, we arranged to meet with 15 area seniors in December 2011. Among the seniors were two local aldermen and the former city mayor. The conversation focused on the condition of their homes and the services they would like to see in their community.

Read the full blog post


Housing an Aging Rural America

Housing an Aging Rural America: Rural Seniors and Their Homes

Download the Report

Ensuring seniors have access to safe, secure affordable housing in a rapidly aging rural America

The United States is on the cusp of an extensive and far-reaching demographic transformation as the senior population is expected to more than double in the next 40 years. Rural America is “older” than the nation as a whole and more than one-quarter of all seniors live in rural and small town areas, and a rapidly aging population will significantly impact nearly all aspects of the nation’s social, economic, and housing systems. Most seniors wish to remain and age in their homes as long as possible, but rural elders are increasingly experiencing challenges with housing affordability and quality. These challenges point to an underlying gap in housing options and availabilities. With the scope and magnitude of the looming demographic shift of seniors, rural communities will need to develop a range of housing options available to seniors such as more rental housing, rehabilitation and repair programs, housing with services, and assisted living. These options not only enhance the lives of seniors but are fiscally prudent measures that are more cost effective than long-term care options.

Download the report.