Operation Homefront is a heavy hitter in the veteran-oriented non-profit sphere, so you may have already heard of it. However, since one of the many services it provides is financial assistance, the topic of this week’s blog posts, I decided to cover it anyway.
Started in 2002, Operation Homefront offers a number of financial and other services to military servicemembers and veterans, primarily in the lower enlisted ranks (E-1 through E-6). They have grown significantly in just over a decade and now partner with an extensive list of big name companies, including Outback, BAE, Eckrich, Walmart and Jim Beam, to run various programs and events. They rate four stars by Charity Navigator and, even more key, 94 cents out of every dollar goes directly to the services and programs they offer.
So what do they offer? Well, first, as I mentioned, they offer financial support in the form of help with bills (checks are paid directly to the mortgage lender, utility service, hospital, auto mechanic, etc). They also offer: emergency home repair, appliance repair, local moving assistance, critical baby items. They also have two housing programs. First, is the Operation Homefront Villages, which provides transition housing for wounded warriors. These are close to the key military hospitals in Southern California, Bethesda, and San Antonio. The second program is Homes on the Homefront, where they match veterans in need with a bankowned home that receives basic remodeling. In both programs, the servicemember/veteran works with a caseworker to progress to full financial independence.
They also work with some of those large companies I mentioned above to conduct community events, such as the “Back-to-School Brigade,” which provides school supplies for military children, the “Star Spangled Babies” baby showers, to help ease the financial burden of a new addition, and “Holiday Meals for Military,” which provides holiday meal kits to military families during the holidays.
Their services are offered to Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, and veterans, specifically those who have suffered hardships in the aftermath of 9/11, including as a result of service in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. According to their website, individuals requesting emergency financial assistance can receive such assistance within 24-72 hours. Other assistance may be acquired through a fund drive (current needs are shown on their website), through one of their events, or working with a counselor for longer term goals, such as transitional housing.
In addition to offering assistance to the servicemember/veteran, Operation Homefront has several programs geared towards dependents as well. These programs include Hearts of Valor, a program for the spouses and caregivers to Post-9/11’s “wounded, injured, or ill” servicemembers/veterans. The program includes an online forum, connecting caregivers to a support network in their area, and annual, no cost retreats to give the caregiver time to recharge and “gain additional tools for successful caregiving.” Operation Homefront also sponsors the Military Child of the Year Award, which recognizes a child from each branch of the military (including Coast Guard) for going above and beyond despite the challenges associated with being a military child. Winners receive a new laptop, a $5,000 cash prize, and a trip to D.C. to receive their award at the annual gala. (Applications for the award open in October and close in December, with the gala occurring the following April.)
If you are in need to immediate financial assistance, you can call 1-877-264-3968. If you just want to check out more about Operation Homefront and its services and programs, you can do that here.
Note: In an effort for full disclosure, Operation Homefront was hit by a minor scandal late last year. The details are scant but it involved some sort of accounting/paperwork shenanigans that resulted in $36,000 being misappropriated or misused, the details aren’t clear. The individual involved in the scandal, one of the original founding members, was fired. While I always try to do my homework on the organizations and services I cover on this blog, my work is no substitute for your own homework. Therefore, you can find out more about this scandal here.
© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.