White Mountain Apache Housing Authority Serves its Veterans

The White Mountain Apache Housing Authority (WMAHA) helps the members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe to overcome their individual housing needs. Of these, almost 500 are U.S. military veterans. Working in the Fort Apache Indian Reservation located in eastern central Arizona, WMAHA serves the 16,000 enrolled members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and strives to ensure that every tribal member has safe housing they can afford. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is proud to be a partner of WMAHA and their amazing work. In 2018, we awarded a $30,000 grant through The Home Depot Foundation‘s Veteran Housing Grants Program to WMAHA to help support their veterans. In celebration of Veterans Day and Native American Heritage Month, we’d like to highlight just a few of the many ways the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority serves the veterans of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

Before rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018 

Before rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018

After rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018 

After rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018

Before and after of a rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018 

 

As many veterans know, service doesn’t end when you’re discharged. It’s a value that is carried for a lifetime. For WMAHA, service is key to the mission. The Veteran Home Rehabilitation Program serves those who have served our country. Many of the low-income Apache veterans the Housing Authority assists are in desperate need of multiple, expensive repairs to make sure their homes are safe, accessible, and livable. But without the ability to make these repairs themselves, many veterans need help.

Over the last eight years, the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority has rehabilitated (or in one case built!) 19 homes for their veterans, each of which required multiple major repairs for health, safety, and accessibility. All of this was performed at no cost to the veteran or their family. Last year WMAHA was able to set a record with 5 rehabilitations.

Making sure their veterans have safe and healthy homes is a point of pride for WMAHA and for the entire White Mountain Apache community. After all, WMAHA doesn’t work alone: each rehabilitation is made possible by scores of volunteers. As the team from WMAHA explains, “the number of volunteers who come and help with demolition and construction cleanup during the projects” is a testament to the rehabilitation program’s “impact on the community.” From the Housing Authority to everyday members, including community partners, the White Mountain Apache Tribe takes care of its veterans. By taking care of those who took care of us, WMAHA is serving both its community and the broader community of veterans nationwide.

The COVID pandemic has hit many Native communities particularly hard, and tragically, the White Mountain Apache are no exception. During the pandemic, unemployment, which usually runs 80% according to WMAHA, has far surpassed that amount, and food insecurity is “at a critical level.” Many of the low-income veterans WMAHA assists don’t have a way to pick up food from the local food bank, so the Housing Authority is starting to deliver the food boxes itself. Not content to just help house their veterans, WMAHA is committed to improving their quality of life.

Caring for veterans extends outside the home, too. For WMAHA, ensuring their veterans have access to the Veterans Affairs benefits they deserve is a critical mission. With 1.67 million acres, the Fort Apache Indian Reservation is large and rural. This creates challenges for many of the Tribe’s low-income veterans. Many of the nearest VA hospitals are hundreds of miles away, which makes even getting to routine appointments incredibly difficult. This distance makes it so challenging to receive disability ratings, see specialists, and make necessary appointments that, according to Barb Connerley, a consultant who works with WMAHA, “many of the veterans…do not know what VA benefits are available to them.”

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

The White Mountain Apache Housing Authority has created a solution to help connect their veterans to the VA medical care they earned through their service. Since 2017, the White Mountain Apache Tribe Department of Transportation has operated Fort Apache Connection Transit (FACT), a 2-route bus system serving 12 stops across the Reservation. While this system doesn’t provide access to the nearest VA hospitals, the Housing Authority recently began repurposing one of their buses to transport veterans to their VA appointments. Multiple times a month, WMAHA will be providing veterans with a bus ride to their appointments and back home. They even take the time to help the veterans complete their paperwork to file for VA benefits.

For the trip, WMAHA provides their veterans with water, snacks, masks, and COVID safety information. They hope that this program can also serve as a teaching event, helping their veterans learn more about COVID safety as well as how to access their VA benefits. The program’s strength is its ingenuity—bringing together transit, healthcare, and informational services—in solving a critical problem for the Tribe’s veterans. Thanks to the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority, veterans living on reservation now have access to the critical VA healthcare they’ve earned through their service.

Many veterans return from their service to find it difficult to access the resources of their communities, including housing. Tragically, Native communities are overrepresented among persistent poverty counties, making these resources even harder to access. The Housing Assistance Council is committed to helping build community resources for housing where they’re needed most. Partners like WMAHA help us give back to our veterans and uplift Native communities. As Barb Connerley puts it, the Tribe’s veterans “have a proud tradition of military service and sacrifice.” The work of the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority pays respect to that service and sacrifice through service, care, and ingenuity of its own.

Rural Veterans and Local Nonprofits Receive Critical Housing Support

Contact: Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org
Shonterria Charleston, ahrv@ruralhome.org
202-842-8600

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 thd.co/community and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at facebook.com/teamdepot.

 

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 https://www.guidestar.org/profile/26-3736448.
  • 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 www.frederickhabitat.org.
  • 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 https://www.orangehabitat.org/.
  • 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 https://smithcountyhabitat.org.
  • 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 https://www.nwumpqua.org/.
  • 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 https://rebuildupstate.org/.
  • 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 https://www.rebuildingtogetherdutchess.org/.
  • 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 https://rebuildingtogether-twincities.org/.
  • 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 https://sals.info/.
  • 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 https://swnm.org/.
  • 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 https://www.stmarycaa.org/index.htm.
  • 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 https://www.wmahousingauthority.org/default.asp?sec_id=180007661.

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Applications Due soon! HAC Seeks Proposals for Its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) Initiative

HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans in rural places. Grants typically range up to $30,000 per organization and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly and/or disabled veterans with home repair and rehab needs, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing.

This initiative is funded through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation.

Applications are due by 5:00PM (EST) on or before November 15, 2019.

Download the Application Package: Application | Application Guidelines

For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org. No phone calls please.

Working together to house America’s rural veterans

The Housing Assistance Council proudly supports the women and men who have served our country. Unfortunately, more than 3 million of our nation’s veterans live in sub-standard housing. According to HUD’s 2018 National Point In Time Homeless Count nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless. As a nation, we can do better to ensure those who have given so much for our country have decent, safe, and healthy places to call home. Together with critical backing from The Home Depot Foundation, HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans (AHRV) initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that provide and or maintain affordable housing needs of veterans in rural places. Since 2013, HAC and The Home Depot Foundation have partnered to invest approximately $3 million in grant funding to 61 nonprofits to support the rehabilitation, modification and or development of 615 units of veteran housing.

Together, we can give back and help meet the housing needs of rural veterans!

HAC is currently accepting applications for its AHRV Initiative through 5PM ET on Friday, November 15, 2019.


Learn more about the recipients of the 2019 Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans awards.

How many veterans live in your community? Visit Veterans Data Central to find data and information about veterans across the country.

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