NLC, The Home Depot Foundation Launch Project to Support Housing for Veterans

January 16, 2012
by James Brooks and Corilyn Lantz

As part of ongoing initiatives between NLC and The Home Depot Foundation, an NLC Capstone Corporate Partner, the two organizations will combine efforts to support housing programs for the nation's military veterans, especially those who are disabled.

This investment will help build NLC's capacity to provide local officials with resources, best practices and learning opportunities focused on neighborhood-based housing rehabilitation and retrofitting initiatives addressing the needs of special populations, with a particular focus on military veterans returning from combat service and with disabilities.

"For more than two years, NLC and The Home Depot Foundation have worked together successfully on sustainability issues," said NLC Executive Director Donald J. Borut. "Going forward with a new focus on veterans strengthens this wonderful partnership and enhances NLC's ability to serve both city governments and the expanding pool of American military veterans."

The one-year grant award from The Home Depot Foundation to NLC is $250,000. 

Since the spring of 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has focused its attention on a variety of issues affecting housing for veterans. Working in a number of cities, the foundation supports nonprofit partners to direct funding for housing repair and renovation.

Despite the fact that the U.S. government is hiring more veterans than ever, veterans account for an alarming proportion of America's homeless population. Veterans comprise about eight percent of the U.S. population, yet they total 16 percent of the homeless population. Veterans also have higher rates of unemployment than the U.S. population at large.

Numerous government programs, like those from the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, seek to address the housing needs of veterans. However, The Home Depot Foundation's grassroots approach is providing innovations and efficiencies through the use of its highly trained and motivated Team Depot volunteers.

Among some recent program activities are those in Phoenix, Detroit and Orlando, Fla. In Phoenix, the foundation collaborated with U.S. Vets on improvement of its facilities. Volunteers transformed a vacant lot across the street from the organization's main building into a vibrant gathering place with an irrigation system, charcoal grills, paved areas and gardens. The U.S. Vets main building in Phoenix serves about 2,000 veterans each day.

Likewise, in Detroit, Home Depot volunteers created a serene green space - with landscaping and benches - near the new transitional veterans housing facility being built by Volunteers of America.

The Orlando project was undertaken in partnership with the Disabled American Veterans. Significant renovations to their facility were undertaken and even included interior repainting, installing energy efficient lighting and improving exterior landscaping. 

The Home Depot Foundation has committed $30 million over three years for home renovations and repairs in support of U.S. military veterans. With more than 35,000 veteran employees, Home Depot has consistently recognized this population and now hopes to provide them with more resources. 

Home Depot acknowledges the potentially difficult transition for military veterans, especially those who have endured service-related injuries, and hopes to ease this challenge by assisting with their homes. The Home Depot Foundation implemented more than 300 projects during 2011. Part of the foundation's success stems from its approach of addressing grand scale issues on a grassroots level and promoting localized efforts through local partnerships. 

Details: For more information about NLC's collaboration with the Home Depot Foundation and its work on housing rehabilitation for veterans, contact the Program Director for Community Development and Infrastructure in the Center for Research and Innovation at 202-626-3163 orbrooks@nlc.org.