1) What is a qualifying event?
A qualifying (or triggering) event, as defined by The Homer Fund, is an unforeseen event that has recently occurred and caused a financial hardship. The Homer Fund considers specific unavoidable emergency situations to determine eligibility for a Direct Grant.
- Natural Disaster (wildfires, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, etc.)
- House Fire
- Unforeseen sale/foreclosure of a home rented from a private landlord
- Involuntary unemployment (i.e., job elimination, layoff, company closure)
- Unanticipated Increase in Family Size
2) What is a qualifying expense?
A qualifying expense, as defined by The Homer Fund, is past due rent/mortgage/property taxes, past due basic utilities (electric, gas, water/sewer ONLY) and food and clothing. Where appropriate, the Direct Grant may also help pay security deposits and certain expenses related to the death of a loved one (funeral expenses up to $8,500 and emergency travel).
3) How long does it take to make a decision on a Direct Grant?
Direct Grants are typically processed within 5-7 business days from the date of receipt of a COMPLETE application. Lack of appropriate documentation will result in an immediate declination, prolonging potential assistance to the associate. Review the Supporting Documentation page, or call The Homer Fund at (770) 384-2611 to ensure you provide the proper documentation with the application.
4) What information does the Fund need when reviewing a Direct Grant application?
Every Direct Grant application will require a Financial Worksheet, proof of the qualifying event (varies based on event), and proof of the qualifying expense (copies of past due bills). View the Supporting Documentation page, or call The Homer Fund at (770) 384-2611 to ensure you provide the proper documentation with the application.
5) How often can an associate qualify for a Direct Grant?
Potentially, a Direct Grant may be issued only once per qualifying event within a 12-month time period. Remember, The Homer Fund is set up to assist issues that are unforeseen, so if the Fund issues a grant to help with a situation, it is unlikely that another Direct Grant for the same situation will be issued. However, an associate could potentially receive multiple Direct Grants within a 12-month time period, but for different situations. Please know that The Homer Fund will ALWAYS provide the most assistance possible, based on the qualifying event and the necessary expenses. For instance, an associate may receive a Direct Grant in January due to the loss of their home in a fire. This same associate might receive another Direct Grant in June of the same year because their spouse became ill and the associate had to take time from work to care for the spouse. If the spouse's illness leads to their death in November of that same year, yet another Direct Grant could be appropriate. Conversely, an associate who lost their second job might receive a Direct Grant to help pay the past due bills in February, and the Fund added another month to help give the associate time to fill the void in the income. The associate cannot receive another Direct Grant for this same issue as the situation is no longer unexpected.
6) Can an associate on a leave of absence apply for Homer Fund assistance?
Yes. An associate on leave is very often the associate that needs Homer Fund assistance the most. Since the application is electronic, the associate only needs to partner with their ASDS, HRM/HRG, or any manager to apply. The application may be done over the phone; however, the documents necessary to complete the review will still be needed by The Homer Fund. The associate may email or fax the required documents themselves, or if they are able, they can take it to their Home Depot location and have them send the information.
7) Will The Homer Fund reimburse an associate for expenses they have already paid?
The Homer Fund program assists in situations where the associate has no other means of paying the necessary expense. Therefore, payment of the expense removes the financial need as defined by The Homer Fund. In most cases, reimbursement will not be considered.
8) Do Homer Fund donors benefit from automatic Homer Fund assistance?
The Homer Fund is a nonprofit charity and operates under the same charitable guidelines as organizations like American Red Cross, United Way, etc. Donations allow The Homer Fund to help qualifying associates during a hardship, but assistance is not guaranteed based on donor status. So, while a donation to The Homer Fund does not equate to automatic assistance, a donation makes it possible to provide assistance if the situation meets the criteria.
9) What constitutes Homer Fund fraud?
•Falsification or alteration of supporting documents or information therein (originals are REQUIRED whenever possible)
•Falsification of an authorized sponsor
•Use of funds for anything outside the purpose for which funds were issued
•Intentional misrepresentation of hardship
•Intentional withholding of relevant information which, if known, would result in declination
•Intentional misuse of personal Homer Fund account (accounts are for use by ASDS or salaried manager ONLY)
•Intentional attempt to deceive management team or Homer Fund staff
Homer Fund fraud is taken very seriously. It is a violation of The Home Depot Code of Ethics. Confirmation of fraud, whether successful or not, may result in disciplinary action, up to termination from The Home Depot.
10) Who qualifies for Homer Fund assistance?
The Direct Grant considers qualifying events that directly impact the associate, their legal spouse or their legal dependent. Proof of marriage (i.e., marriage certificate) or dependency (i.e., most recent copy of tax return) may be requested when necessary.
11) What is an authorized sponsor?
An authorized sponsor is an ASDS or any salaried manager. Homer Fund applications may only be submitted through an authorized sponsor. The role of the authorized sponsor is to ensure the associate meets the minimum criteria for a Homer Fund grant. Authorized sponsors also act as a liason between The Homer Fund and the associate in need.
12) How do I apply for a Direct Grant?
If you are an associate in need, CLICK HERE to download a Direct Grant application prep pack.
If you are an authorized sponsor assisting an associate with their application, log into your personal Homer Fund account.
If you have not created a personal account, contact The Homer Fund at Homer_Fund@homedepot.com for assistance.