Home ownership is the American dream, so why is it that 20,000 active-duty troops, reservists, and veterans who took out special government-backed mortgages lost their homes last year? Doesn't the government believe in keeping the American dream alive for the very people who fight to preserve it?
The military has been especially hard hit in the housing crisis for a variety of reasons -- constant relocation, tough for reservists to find civilian jobs, physical and mental health issues following deployment, etc. Isn't there more we can do to help? Are we really doing everything we can?
There are several programs in place to help military families in need. About 12,000 military families applied to the Pentagon's Homeowners Assistance Program, which strives to make up most of the difference in price for service members who must transfer and sell their homes for less than they owe. Demand for assistance through USA Cares, a charity that provides financial assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan war-era troops, is also up. And there are also loans from private banks, which are guaranteed by Veterans Affairs. Many of these programs include mortgage counselors, and the VA is said to have helped 66,000 families avoid foreclosure last year.
So for this reason, 20,000 is supposed to make us feel pretty good, I guess. But it doesn't. It makes us wonder how we expect our troops to keep doing what they're doing.
With all that our military serviceman and women give up and endure, they don't need the additional burden of foreclosure. How can they be expected to keep their heads in the game overseas if their home lives are falling apart without them? These numbers are far too high for us to believe we're doing everything right.
It's obviously not a case of people not earning their keep. After all, they're working for or worked for us, and we know right where to find them. If money management is the problem, let's focus on that, and let's get military men and women into mortgages they can afford in the first place. Let's cut some of the red tape on VA loans. If the hardship of being away or returning disabled is causing the hit, let's get more programs in place to assist. I just can't believe we don't think our service people and their families deserve to own homes.
Do we need more programs to support our troops who own houses or do you think military personnel need to realize home ownership might not be in the cards for them? Is it just one more drawback to the job?
Image via morisius cosmonaut/Flickr