ATLANTA (AP) — Nonprofit organizations backed by the Home Depot Foundation have built or repaired more than 10,000 homes for veterans as part of the retailer's grant program.
The foundation, supported by contributions from the Atlanta company and its vendors, has handed out more than $65 million since 2011 to organizations that renovate or build houses for veterans across the country.
Jake Maguire, a spokesman for the nonprofit group Community Solutions, applauded the Home Depot Foundation's commitment to working with experienced local groups.
"I think they recognized early on they could make the biggest impact by partnering with as many organizations as they could," said Maguire, whose organization works to fight homelessness.
The Home Depot Foundation has pledged to provide $80 million in grants by the spring of 2015. President Kelly Caffarelli said she expects the foundation to continue working on housing issues after that, especially as military cuts take effect and more veterans look for homes.
"As long as there are veterans that need help with their housing, I think we'll continue trying to help," Caffarelli said.
The increasingly expensive housing market could pose problems for people leaving the military in the next few years, especially if they are also looking for jobs, said Christopher Ptomey, the director of federal relations for Habitat for Humanity.
"With the economy still struggling and housing getting to expensive levels again, we need to have a serious policy discussion to ensure we're fulfilling our commitment to (veterans)," he said.
Projects funded in part by the Home Depot Foundation range from a 50-unit permanent housing facility in Green Bay, Wis. to home repairs provided by Meals on Wheels Atlanta volunteers.
Jeff Smythe, executive director of Meals on Wheels Atlanta, said 51 veterans are on the organization's waiting list for home repair services. He said Americans assume veterans' housing needs are met, but that's not always the case. Aging veterans especially need advice on repairs that will keep their houses livable, he said.
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