Home Depot Foundation Program Helps Improve Veterans' Housing

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Home Depot Foundation Program Helps Improve Veterans' Housing

Officials with the Home Depot Foundation on Thursday said the organization will donate $50 million over a three-year period to nonprofits that work with military veterans.

The money will be used primarily on housing initiatives across the nation, including in Atlanta.

Spokeswoman Catherine Woodling said the organization still has to identify which nonprofits will receive funding. In the past, the Home Depot Foundation has worked with groups like Quest 35 and HouseProud Atlanta.

The foundation gave $30 million to nonprofits in April 2011.

Atlanta is among 13 cities that will have kickoff celebrations for the second annual “Celebration of Service” campaign. Throughout the two-month campaign, which includes other cities, work will also be done on facilities that serve veterans. Today, more than 220 Home Depot store associates will repair and renovate the homes of 11 metro Atlanta veterans or their spouses. Volunteers will work on more than 200 additional projects during the campaign.

“This is our way of saying thank you for the service they’ve given us,” said Home Depot Foundation President Kelly Caffarelli. Last year was the first year the foundation’s volunteer project focused exclusively on veterans. “The economy is really hitting veterans hard from all generations. We want to ensure that every veteran has a safe home,” she said.

The initiative helps people like U.S. Army veteran James Mahone, who has lived in his three-bedroom northwest Atlanta home since he was 16.

“This house is in such disrepair,” said Mahone, 66. “Things need to be done that haven’t been done in 40 years.”

Several years ago, Mahone — who has worked as a jazz and R&B; musician and owned interior design and security businesses — had his left leg amputated below the knee. He also has degenerative joint disease and lives on Social Security benefits.

Volunteers will clean the gutters at his house, work on his lawn, do exterior painting and make repair to his back porch.

“I’m just truly blessed,” he said.

By Shelia Poole, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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