A perfect storm is what Jennifer Robinson, director of assistance at USA Cares, a nonprofit that offers financial assistance to post 9/11 veterans and active-duty military personnel, calls the foreclosure crisis. In fact, she says, there are specific problems that can put military families at greater risk for foreclosure than civilian families:
- Reserves called to active service often find themselves earning far less money in the military than they did at their civilian jobs.
- Spouses often have to cut back on working hours to take care of children, since they have no one to share childcare duties with.
- Service members may find jobs gone when they return—the factory they worked for is now padlocked.
- Service members may have injuries that prevent them from returning to the same jobs they had, and various disability programs don’t make up the difference. Meanwhile, spouses have to take care of them.
- Service members’ homes have lost significant value, making refinancing difficult.
Data from RealtyTrac on foreclosures in 163 Zip codes with a high proportion of military families tells a grim story: Between February 2009 and February 2010, these foreclosures were up 10.93% while the national rate was up 6.22%.
Groups like the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Regional Loan Centers and private organizations like USA Cares are helping. But, the problems many veterans face remain acute.
Read on to meet several veterans deservedly helped by USA Cares. And please join our cause: Support HouseLogic’s Operation Home Relief Campaign via Facebook.