Voices: Missoula’s Homes for Heroes program honors those who served

Missoula overflows with heroes – men and women who put their lives on the line to serve the county. There are 3,150 heroes in education, training, and library; 3,990 healthcare practitioners and technical occupations; 950 in protective services (police, sheriff, lifeguards) and countless volunteers. Around 13,749 are in the military including 8,048 veterans.

According to the Housing Assistance Council, housing affordability is a major constraint among retired military with an estimated 23.6 percent of Montana veteran residents paying a lot of money for their housing. A roof over the head is a basic need that everyone and every hero should be able to meet.

Homes for Heroes aims to honor heroes for providing a great service to this nation. Created just after the tragic events of 9/11, it’s a noble way of showing gratitude to the millions of men and women who risk their lives to fulfill their duties.

From the tireless military and police personnel to the unwavering healthcare workers and teachers, each of these individuals is performing heroic acts every day. It’s only fitting that they are recognized and rewarded by increasing access to a home.

“Watching the massive recovery effort, we wanted to find a way to say thank you to all who serve our nation and its communities, making them better and safer places to live,” said Ruth Johnson, president of Homes for Heroes. “We structured our thank you around the real estate transaction and decided that we would give back a portion of our commission to firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (past and currently serving), healthcare workers and teachers when they buy, sell or refinance a home. We also worked with our local mortgage lenders who reduced their fees for heroes.”

By signing up with Homes for Heroes, Missoula’s heroes have access to a network of established realtors who can help them buy homes at decent prices. When a hero closes (buying or selling) a home with an affiliate, immediate savings and discounts are enjoyed, depending on the value of a property that is bought. Home buyers can get up to 25 percent of an agent’s commission in the form of a check. Sellers also get a discount on listing fees when they use an affiliate.

For heroes who cannot afford a new home, affiliated real estate agents might have a pool of houses or apartments for rent. It still makes sense to connect with an affiliate agent so that financing options in the future can be discussed and planned. Giving back to the community of heroes goes beyond the savings because, for every transaction, a portion of the sales proceeds goes to the Home for Heroes Foundation. Grants are awarded to heroes who are in need such as homeless veterans.