Headshot of author Richard Allen SmithWhen Army Capt. Matt Carpenter, an Iraq War Veteran, succumbed to cancer in December 2010, he left his wife, Beth, and son, Joey behind. Shortly after his death, Beth received advice from a friend and fellow Army widow, “Our children have already lost their fathers,” the friend said. “We can’t let them lose their mothers to grief.”

Beth took that advice to heart. She decided to move with Joey, now three, from Connecticut to Northern Virginia to be close to her parents and purchase a home using her VA home loan benefit as a surviving spouse.  When Elizabeth and Joey were choosing a place to call home for the next chapter of their lives, they didn’t know that they would be the 20 millionth family to receive a home loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This morning, a foggy one in Woodbridge, Virginia, with orange leaves blanketing trees and lawns on Beth and Joey’s cul-de-sac, VA honored the memory of Capt. Carpenter and recognized the milestone achieved when Beth and Joey closed on their new house. VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey was joined in recognizing the Carpenters by Michael Frueh, director of Loan Guaranty Service for VA, and National Association of Realtors President Moe Veissi. Pete Mills, senior vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association also was on hand to recognize the Carpenters and noted that his parents still lived in the home where he grew up—one of the 20 million financed under a VA loan guaranty.

Representatives from the Carpenters’ lender, Wells Fargo, and realtor, Keller Williams, were also present.

Beth said that beginning life in a new home was a way to honor her late husband.  “Matt wanted us to push forward, and that’s what we’ve done. It’s better to push forward than just wallow.”

“We wanted a home for Joey to make memories at three that he’ll remember at 16,” Beth said of selecting their new home. “We want to have friends that turn into family. This neighborhood is amazing. There are tons of kids, and Joey waits for them to get off the school bus.”

The VA Home Loan program began in 1944 under the first G.I. Bill signed by Franklin Roosevelt. The program has the lowest serious delinquency rate, as well as the lowest foreclosure rate, of any home ownership program in the United States. There are currently a total of 1.7 million VA guaranteed home loans in the United States with a total value of $284 billion dollars. Of loans purchased through program, 89 percent are purchased with no down payment.  All told, VA guarantees an average of 2,400 home loans every working day of the year.

“At the center of the home loan guaranty program is the idea that Veterans and their families are a safe bet,” said Under Secretary Hickey.” As a result of their service and sacrifice, as a group, they prove to be disciplined, reliable, and honorable — traits that are ideal for this kind of national investment.”

Veterans may obtain a certificate of eligibility for a VA-guaranteed home loan through the joint Department of Defense-VA web portal eBenefits.  To obtain more information about the VA Home Loan Program, visit the program’s home page.

Richard Allen Smith is a Web Communications Specialist for the Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Richard served on active duty in the United States Army from 2003-2008 and deployed to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in 2007.

Share this story

Published on Oct. 26, 2012

Estimated reading time is 3 min.

Views to date: 141


  1. Bernard Hammond November 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    needs VA benefits 140 Stornway Columbus Ohio 43213 614 864 1462. He needs rep to come to his home to complete application for Va check. He was in foreign wars.

  2. Steven October 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    It’s great that we are taking care of veterans families to secure existing housing. However, as a disabled veteran I have been unable to find a lender who will process a mortgage under the VA Loan Program for New Construction Loans. They will all finance a FHA Loan and convert it to a VA Loan once construction is complete, but I have found none that will finance it under this program (including USAA). It would be great if we could get these financial institutions to accept this program. It would allow more veterans to build a home that addresses their needs (disabilities) now and as they age. If anyone knows of a financial institution that handles these VA Loans please respond back.

    • Todd November 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      you may want to look in to the Specially Adapted Paraplegic Housing (PH) Grant. It is suppose to be used with the VA Loan to help with new builds.

    • Samantha@VA November 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm


      Thanks for your question. VA can guarantee construction/perm loans (see chapter 7, Topic 2 in Lender’s Handbook – http://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/pam26_7.asp) but you’re right that lenders haven’t really embraced this concept.

      Here’s contact info for our offices: http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/rlcweb.asp Give them a call to see if they’re aware of any lender doing this. Depending on the degree and nature of your disability, you may also be eligible for the SAH program. Check out more info about that program here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/sah_info.asp.

  3. Daniel Chookaszian October 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    This is an incredible milestone. VA loans are the best financing opportunity in the country, and our nation’s veterans (and their surviving spouses) deserve every ounce of this opportunity. It’s great to see that these loans go into default less than any other home loan in America — the VA loan is safe and affordable for our veterans. So a big thanks to Veterans Affairs and all their staff who help us lend to our veterans through the VA Home Loan Guarantee program.

    Daniel Chookaszian
    VA Loan Specialist
    Perl Mortgage

  4. Larry October 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    That’s wonderful. Has the VA a,ddressed the fraud perpetrated by VA Direct Lenders and mortgage brokers upon veterans under serial and relentless “free” refi’s through the IRRRL Program?

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • During Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September, the American Red Cross emphasizes the importance of a diverse blood supply to help meet the needs of those with sickle cell disease – the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S.

  • CaringBridge, a free online tool to communicate health news to family and friends, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

  • Shahpur Pazhman flew Black Hawk missions in 27 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, resupplying and relocating Afghan ground forces and evacuating casualties to safety. Thanks to Bridge My Return, he's back in the air.