Since our founding in 1990, our methodology in helping the unhoused is always to first see what is missing in helping the most difficult to help, connect dots to fill the gap, and only then if needed create a solution to fill that gap.
For Veterans Matter we noticed that a simple deposit was the ONLY barrier preventing 35 local veterans from getting off the streets into long term housing.
When Dusty Hill, John Mellencamp and Mitch Albom wanted us to expand to house the unhoused veteran in their home states, we created the technology to support it and they raised the funding.
Seeing the need nationwide, the Veterans Matter housing program grew because more and more regular Americans like us found a simple way to guarantee every homeless veteran who can be housed, gets housed. To date over 1,200 veterans and veteran families are now housed in 165 cities nationwide. A little over 39,000 still need to be housed.
What is our newest mission?
For quite some time we have been noticing some of our formerly homeless veterans who are quite employable, have not been able to obtain employment due to either a lack of training or had soft barriers such as a job or criminal history which caused employers to pass our veterans by.
So we began researching ways to leverage existing resources in a low investment/high impact way to assist even more homeless veterans accomplish their goal of re-employment. We found there are many programs to help mainstream veterans, but very few which helped formerly homeless veterans get re-employed. We found the VA and local collaborators have enough current programs to get any veteran READY for employment, a resume, interviewing skills and the like. But we found nothing that gave an employer reason to hire a formerly homeless veteran who has the normal barriers that come with homelessness.
Again working locally with our VA partner Shawn Dowling, we began researching existing capacity to see if dots can be connected. We concluded the greatest void to be filled is to give our formerly homeless veterans in the VA HUD-VASH program a competitive advantage to get hired long term, ultimately returning them to self-sufficiency and financial stability.
How are we answering that call?
Just as we did with our housing program, Veterans Matter is the leading innovator working in close collaboration with the VA and various local partners to develop a pilot program with the potential to be deployed nationwide.
Through integrating our technology, housing, and employment programs across diverse communities, Veterans Matter will now be able to house veterans, get them rapidly connected with medical, mental health and employment assistance in collaboration with the Veterans Administration as well as local and national collaborators. Once job ready, we will help the veterans have the competitive edge in employment by either providing the training in a job class resulting in employment, or giving the employer the financial incentive through job training dollars to hire our formerly homeless veteran who they might not otherwise hire.
Will this solve the problem and get every veteran a job? Of course not.
But our Training and Re-Employment Program (TREP) gives us, as a nation, the ability to make sure every formerly homeless veteran who CAN be employed gets the chance to be employed.
We are designing this program to form a successful, innovative collaboration model integrating technology, housing and our National Collaborative Funding Network, across diverse communities where need for capacity is perceived greatest.
We are again applying business rules to design the program to be highly cost effective and be rapidly deployed to any funded area.
In mid-September we signed a national Memorandum Of Agreement with the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Robert McDonald, not only for expansion of our housing program, but also new program development such as our employment program, in collaboration with their Homeless Veterans Re-Integration Program (HVRP).
In late September a major donor to our housing program, Jordan Reses Supply Company, out of Ann Arbor, committed full funding for the pilot program.
We want to ensure our efforts are targeted to those who need us most, and with the help of key collaborators we are finding veterans that have demonstrated readiness for competitive employment, as verified by our VA vocational specialists.
We have seen early success. On November 4th we graduated our first two formerly homeless veterans ready for employment through a partnership with Cherry Street Mission’s Life Revitalization Center. Employment is pending.
TREP is, like our housing program, being designed in concert with the VA’s national employment programs to be able to scale up immediately upon securing funding for any city in the nation.
The Veterans Matter housing program grew because more and more regular Americans like us found a simple way to guarantee every homeless veteran who can be housed, gets housed.
With TREP we are doing the same thing. We want to guarantee that every formerly homeless veteran who can be employed, gets employed.
We would like to identify regional or national funding and deployment partners by Q1 of 2017. We envision partnering with a national campaign such as the Chamber of Commerce’s “Hiring our Heroes” program to raise awareness of the program.
If you are an early adapter who likes creating new things and would like more information please contact us.
Veterans Matter: We take care of our own.