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Posts tagged ‘homeless’

Boots On The Ground Helping Veterans

A new Detroit company is teaming up with unemployed veterans to give them some work.

Founder Jarret Schlaff got the idea when he met a homeless veteran looking for work in Detroit. Jarret realized how many veterans in the city are unemployed, over 5600, so he decided to make a difference — and who knows boots better than veterans?

The prototype for the urban utility unisex boot was humbly started in three basements in Detroit. If the boot takes off, they’ll eventually be made in a factory.

Right now, Boots on the Ground is in its crowdfunding phase. They’re hoping to get enough backers to get their boots produced full-time right here in the Motor City.

“My hope and vision is to see more veterans that are unemployed to come back and be reiterated back into society with quality jobs and a reasonable income where they can support themselves as well as their families,” says veteran Michael Jones.

In order to get full-time production of the boots, they need to sell 360 of them at $300 a pop. You can also support the group, though, by ordering a less expensive boot they produce, or just by donating $5.

If the idea takes off, the boots will eventually cost much less than $300. If you’re able to make a donation and get a pair of boots in the meantime, visit

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Homeless Veterans Numbers Down by Half

The good news is that the number of homeless veterans in America is down significantly since 2010. According to HUD and the VA the number is 47% overall and some states are even better than that.  Minnesota reports homelessness is down 57% for veterans there.

HUD’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) estimate of America’s homeless population, communities across the country reported that there were fewer than 40,000 homeless veterans on a given night in January 2016. This change is the result of the partnership among HUD, VA,  USICH, and other federal, state and local partners sparked by the 2010 launch of Opening Doors, the first-ever strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.

American Veterans Aid

This kind of American Veterans aid goes a long way towards addressing the problems our soldiers encounter when they come home. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nation’s homeless veterans are mostly males (four percent are females). The vast majority is single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45 percent suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems.  So there is much more to deal with than just being homeless.

President Obama hailed this statistic in a speech in Atlanta yesterday.  “We have just about cut veterans homelessness in half. We’ve helped bring tens of thousands of veterans off the streets, but we’re not slowing down,” he said. “We will not stop until every veteran who fought for America has a home in America.”

Michelle Obama plans to hold an event this fall to celebrate this  progress and establish additional milestones in the fight to end veteran homelessness.  The president expressed his commitment to helping and serving the country’s veterans.  “Every single veteran matters,” he said.

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Top Organizations for Homeless American Veterans

The military members that served our country with honor and distinction are worthy of our respect, gratitude, and aid.  Many American veterans do get aid and G.I. Bill provisions following completion of service.  However, there are also a number of veterans who suffer from disabilities or detriments related to their military service that can cause them to become homeless.

There are almost 50,000 homeless American vets on any given night and 20 percent of the male homeless population are veterans.  Half of the homeless vets are over the age of 50.

Some suffer illness or injury in the course of their military duties.  Others are affected by issues related to coping with military service, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.  Those that go untreated for one reason or another may suffer all kinds of hardship, including extremes like poverty and homelessness.

Veterans facing such dire circumstances may need help to recover and get back on their feet.  There are several well respected organizations that offer such assistance.  Here are a few that veterans and their family members should be aware of.


The American Veterans National Service Foundation, more commonly known as AMVETS, is a group that is dedicated to helping veterans reintegrate in society following military service, as well as claim any and all American veterans aid and other benefits they’re due.  Although AMVETS is not a non-profit organization (they take in proceeds and pay taxes), the lion’s share of the money they collect goes to help veterans, for whom the group provides free services.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV)

This non-profit charity group not only advocates for increased federal funding for programs offering assistance to homeless veterans, but they also work to provide food, emergency housing, health services, job training and placement services, and legal aid to homeless veterans.

NCHV notably offers assistance to thousands of homeless veterans annually and strives to increase services and support for veterans through advocacy and information sharing.

Operation Homefront

This laudable organization caters specifically to veterans and their families facing extreme economic hardship and poverty following military service.  Whether veterans are ill, injured, or otherwise unable to meet financial obligations, Operation Homefront can provide emergency financial assistance, food, health benefits, support groups, and in some cases transitional housing until such time as VA benefits kick in.

Hire Heroes

Some veterans transition seamlessly back into civilian life following their military service.  Others may have trouble re-acclimating, especially when it comes to finding a job.

The overarching goal of the Hire Heroes organization is to help veterans find gainful employment.  They do this by offering workshops and individual assistance for drafting resumes, interviewing, and learning how to market oneself to prospective employers.  They also offer a job board and work to build partnerships with companies interested in hiring veterans.

Not every veteran is able to work following military service, but those that are may need a hand when it comes to getting hired.  For vets that have fallen on hard times due to a lack of gainful employment, Hire Heroes could make a world of difference.

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