Operation Homefront today announced the formation of a Veterans Financial Services Advisory Council (VFSAC), a new leadership group created to support the mission of building strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive, not simply struggle to get by, in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.
Brig Gen (ret) John I. Pray, Jr., President and CEO of Operation Homefront will serve as managing director of the organization’s Veterans Financial Services Advisory Council
Bob Caruso, Division President, Servicing and Strategy for ServiceLink, will serve as Chairman of Operation Homefront’s Veterans Financial Services Advisory Council
Ed Delgado, President and CEO, The Five Star Institute, will serve as Vice-Chairman of Operation Homefront’s Veterans Financial Services Advisory Council
Operation Homefront’s VFSAC brings prominent leaders in the housing, finance, banking, and mortgage industries together to provide a holistic approach to meeting the financial challenges facing our military families today and in the future. The council will be led Bob Caruso, Division President, Servicing and Strategy for ServiceLink, who will serve as Chairman, and Ed Delgado, President and CEO, The Five Star Institute, who will serve as Vice-Chairman. Brig Gen (ret) John I. Pray, Jr., President and CEO of Operation Homefront, will serve as the council’s managing director.
“After serving in our nation’s time of need and protecting the freedoms we, as Americans, enjoy daily, we see many military families struggling to make ends meet. We want to help those that have done so much for all of us to have the same opportunities they have made possible,” said Pray. “Having a safe and secure place to call ‘home’ is critical to building a better future and our Homes on the Homefront (HOTH) program is designed to help military families establish the foundation upon which to build that better future.”
Numerous reports highlight the need to support veterans housing initiatives. A 2013 report issued by the Low Income Housing Coalition estimated that over 1.5 million veteran households pay more than 50% of their income for housing. In addition, the report concluded that post-9/11 veterans were more likely than veterans of prior eras to experience severe housing cost burdens.
Operation Homefront’s HOTH program helps military families meet this critical housing need. Since 2012, Operation Homefront, in close partnership with several major financial institutions, has placed over 550 families in homes, saving more than $22 million in mortgage costs. As an organization that focuses on generating meaningful outcomes, not simply dollars spent, Operation Homefront has made a lasting difference with 92% of families still living in the home they were deeded and an additional 6% of the families utilizing the equity gained to purchase a larger home as the needs of their families expanded.
“These homes are an investment in the future of our military families – especially for those who have sacrificed so much for all of us in securing our own way of life,” said Caruso. “Through the Veterans Financial Services Advisory Council, we will build a coalition that is able to accomplish three key tasks: sourcing homes to donate to military families; engaging companies willing to renovate donated homes; and recruiting donors to fund Operation Homefront’s Homes on the Homefront program expenses.”
The combined resources and expertise of the advisory council will help Operation Homefront build a broad national effort to support military families through difficult periods by providing: relief through critical assistance and temporary housing programs; resiliency through permanent housing and caregiver programs; and recurring family support through a variety of programs all designed to ensure that short-term needs don’t turn into chronic long-term struggles.
“This is a seminal moment for Operation Homefront. Our Advisory Council will capitalize on the expertise of many national leaders in the financial services arena to help chart a strong future for military families for years to come,” added Delgado. “It is absolutely critical to not just raise awareness, but actually deliver tangible results on meeting the very real housing needs of our military families.”
Life on the homefront can be challenging for service members, veterans, and military families during their service and as they transition back to their civilian communities. Transitions can be especially difficult as injuries, both visible and invisible, an intimidating job market and a turbulent economy, often create significant uncertainty and financial stress.
Since 2002, Operation Homefront has worked in close partnership with a variety of like-minded partners to help military families overcome these daunting challenges. By providing outcomes-based programs that address the specific short-term critical assistance, long-term stability and recurring family support needs military families experience, Operation Homefront has made and continues to make a meaningful difference in helping this very special and deserving group of Americans become stronger, more stable, and more secure.
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront builds strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect. With more than 3,200 volunteers nationwide, Operation Homefront has provided assistance to tens of thousands of military families its inception shortly after 9/11. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups (4-stars from Charity Navigator for nine consecutive years, “A” rating from CharityWatch, and meets all 20 accountability standards with the Better Business Bureau), 92 percent of Operation Homefront’s expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families.
For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net