On Oct. 29, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that they have guaranteed 21 million home loans since the start of their Home Loan Guaranty program. The program is part of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the “G.I. Bill of Rights,” which has guaranteed benefits for veterans since its establishment.
“[The Home Loan Guaranty program] offers veterans, [service members] and their families the keys to home ownership and is truly a testament to our nation’s commitment to enhancing the lives of those who served our country,” VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey said, according to the U.S. Department of VA.
The program helps eligible veterans, surviving spouses and severely disabled veterans obtain loans and grants they need to own a house; the money can be used toward buying, building, repairing or adapting the house as necessary.
According to the VA, for the 2014 fiscal year, the Home Loan program guaranteed about 35,000 loans per month, adding up to a total of 438,398 loans. 1,253 grants were given to severely disabled veterans for the modification, construction or purchase of houses.
When students were asked for their opinion on the home loans, many were supportive of the program.
“Home Loans like the ones given out by the VA are definitely going to help [veterans] return to regular life. Much too often, veterans are left to fend for themselves after returning from their tours. These loans will help provide for veterans who seek to settle down in new property. I will also give them the confidence to go out in the world because they know that they have support,” senior Matthew Chan said.
Some also voiced that veterans would gain more than a home.
“Home loans not only will ease their after-war trauma,[but] it will also help them to think it is worth it to fight for our country,” senior Gina Huang said.
Not only did the VA help veterans buy their houses, but it also helped them keep their houses as well. In the 2014 fiscal year , the VA aided nearly 80,000 veteran borrowers from losing their homes from foreclosure. Those who had loans from the VA also had the lowest foreclosure rate compared to those who had other types of home loans.
The Home Loan Guaranty program, established in 1944, has catered to veterans returning from World War II, providing benefits such as home loans, job training and schooling. By the time the first GI Bill ended in 1956, 7.8 million World War II veterans participated in the education and training program; the VA also provided nearly 2.4 million home loans for the veterans as well. In 1984, the GI Bill was readapted to cater to the newer generation of veterans. It was updated most recently in 2008 to give more benefits to veterans in active duty, as well as the opportunity for veterans to transfer unused benefits to their spouses and children.