1) Why are changes being made?
Periodically, The Homer Fund reviews the existing program guidelines and grant trends to determine where changes to the program are appropriate. We also consider your feedback around the process and distribution of Homer Fund grants, and are working hard to make adjustments that help provide the best possible assistance to the largest number of associates.
As you know, the Direct Grant guidelines are very specific. Qualification is determined based on a two-part criteria: a RECENT qualifying event (i.e., illness, death, natural disaster, fire, or unemployment) must cause the need for a qualifying expense (i.e., past due rent/mortgage/basic utilities, funeral expenses). We reviewed the grant trends to determine areas where we could expand the qualifying events and qualifying expenses to assist more associates. We have made enhancements that will allow The Homer Fund to provide more emergency assistance while maximizing associate donations to the Fund. The successful 2016 Homer Fund campaign has allowed us to expand the criteria for the Direct Grant.
We have also modified the Matching Grant process to provide clear direction and improve the grant request process. The flexible structure of the Matching Grant will continue, but will offer more oversight, to offer necessary assistance to associates with situations that do not meet the criteria for a Direct Grant. Process changes with this grant will help sponsors determine which grant is appropriate for an associate's situation. These changes will also minimize opportunities for abuse, misuse and fraud within the Matching Grant program.
2) What are the changes?
As part of our efforts to make sure we are there for our associates when they face unforeseen financial hardship, The Homer Fund is excited to announce we have expanded qualifications for our Direct Grants program.
Major car repairs
- Address car repairs, up to $1,500
- Transmission/engine repair/replacement
(Not a replacement for insurance; other car repairs will continue to be addressed under the Matching Grant)
Loss of household income
- Loss of court-ordered child support
- Loss of gov’t subsidy (Section 8, SSI, SNAP, etc)
- Robbery, persistent burglary, identity theft
- Criminal offenses excluded; legal fees excluded
(Must provide a police report to support offense & relevant past due bills related to the crime)
Critical home repairs (structurally unsafe)
- Leaking roof
- HVAC repair/replacement
- Plumbing repairs
Expansion of the qualifying/consequent expenses
- Pay ALL medical insurance premiums Include transportation stipend
- Address car loans, car insurance, car repossession
- Stipends up to $750
- Address cost of temporary transportation (Uber, Lyft, taxi) and mass transit
- Stipends up to $250
One of the most common events for which Home Depot locations collect funds to help a fellow associate is traveling to attend a loved one's funeral. So, The Homer Fund is adding to the list of qualifying events and qualifying expenses for the Direct Grant. The grant will now cover travel expenses to funerals of immediate family members, and will expand the list of immediate family members to include:
Funeral Expenses for a Deceased Young Adult Child (up to age 26) or a Deceased Parent
- Proper documentation is still required ( birth certificate, obituary)
The Direct Grant already assists with funeral expenses for a deceased associate or their spouse or legal dependent, and no changes will occur to this event
Medical Insurance Premiums for associates on a Medical Leave for a minimum of 30 Days
Unanticipated Guardianship of Children/Grandchildren Resulting in an Increase in Family Size
The Fund is also making changes in the Matching Grant process. We’re not only restructuring the way grants are approved, but we’re also changing the way matching funds are collected and distributed.
- Pre-approval will be required PRIOR to collecting funds for a Matching Grants
- Requests that qualify for a Direct Grant will be declined for a Matching Grant (this does not mean you have to apply for a Direct Grant first, but it does mean that you need to verify eligibility through the Eligibility Quicktest)
- Associates contributing to a Matching Grant collection may contribute cash only
- The Homer Fund will match up to the associate’s actual financial need, and the matching check will be made payable to the creditor (i.e., utility company, auto loan provider, etc), whenever possible
- For instance, if the collection is to help an associate pay their electricity bill, submittal of the bill will be required during the pre-approval stage
- If the electricity bill is $500, and
- the Home Depot location collects $500, no match will be awarded
- the Home Depot location collects $250, a $250 match will be awarded
- the Home Depot location collects $100, the $2-for-$1 match still applies and a $200 match will be awarded
3) How will these changes impact the application process?
The application process will now include the pre-approval process. The collection will be done as usual, but cash will be the only acceptable contribution. Requests will still be processed within the 1-2 business day time frame.
4) When will these changes occur?
Effective August 8, 2016, The Homer Fund will implement the changes described.
- 5) Who should I contact with questions?
6) Where do I go to apply?
If you are an associate in need, you may only apply through your ASDS or any manager. However, there are documents you must first complete. For Matching Grants, CLICK HERE to access documents. For Direct Grants, CLICK HERE to access documents.
Authorized sponsors must log into their personal Homer Fund account in order to access the applications. Contact The Homer Fund at Homer_Fund@homedepot.com for help with creating and accessing your personal account.