By Bonnie Spain
In honor of Veterans’ Day, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you service members, both active and retired, and your families for your service to our country.
I also want to let all servicemen and women know about a program that might greatly benefit you and your families.
Housing issues are a problem for many families across our country, military and civilian. A variety of programs are designed to help individuals and families with housing. One program that isn’t widely known is the Department of Defense (DOD) Homeowners Assistance Program, or the HAP program. This program is authorized by a law from 1966 for service members and federal civilians. The program is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
The laws provide some monetary relief to homeowners who are eligible service members and federal employees. These homeowners may be eligible for relief if they suffer a financial loss on the sale of their primary residence when a base closure or realignment announcement causes a decline in the residential real estate market and, therefore, they are not able to sell their homes under reasonable terms or conditions. If eligible applicants cannot sell their homes under reasonable terms and conditions, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may acquire their homes.
This program became applicable today in our area. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has temporarily expanded the HAP program to assist service members and DOD employees who are wounded, injured, or became ill when deployed. The program also assists surviving spouses of service members or DOD employees who were killed or died of wounds while deployed; service members and civilian employees who were assigned to BRAC 05 organizations; and service members who were required to permanently relocate during the home mortgage crisis.
To qualify, a service member must have: owned his or her home prior to July 1, 2006; have PCS orders dated between February 1, 2006 and September 30, 2010; reassigned to a new duty station or home port outside a 50-mile radius of the member’s former duty station or home port; and suffered a decline of at least 10% in home value from the date of purchase to the date of sale.
For more information about this program, go to www.hap.usace.army.mil. This site contains the downloadable application and guidance package and a map for all 50 states that tells you where to go for more assistance. If you or someone you know fits the guidelines listed in the paragraph above, please take the time to review this information.
Bonnie Spain is the President and CEO of American Center for Credit Education (ACCE)
CCCS is a non-profit Credit Counseling agency with offices in Oklahoma City, Bethany, Enid, Stillwater and Tinker Air Force Base. Contact us at http://www.cccsok.org or 1-800-364-2227