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homeless man with dog

”Veterans Matter housed my 80 year old Veteran and his little dog ‘Mikey’. This Veteran showed up to lease signing in a suit and tie. He melted the heart of his new landlord. Previously he was living in his van with the dog. Good work Veterans Matter, you came through for this veteran BIG TIME! He loves the new apartment and stated ‘I hope I can stay here forever.’”  – VASH Social Worker

The renowned anthropologist Margaret Meade was once asked about the first sign of civilization, expecting the answer to be evidence of some sort of tool. Instead, Meade remarked it was a healed femur. Why? Because it meant that, back in the long ago of nomadic, primitive living, where “survival of the fittest” meant you had to hunt, run, gather, and keep moving to stay alive, someone had stayed with injured person, protecting and caring for them, until their broken leg healed. The first sign of civilization was compassion.
If that is true, then perhaps the most civilized among us are those who choose to spend their lives serving others in compassionate professions. We here at Veterans Matter are in particular awe of the VASH social workers.
Who?
The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) staff is the clinically-trained Masters level mental health social workers in the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program of each regional VA hospital. These are the folks we work with directly to house veterans. These are the people who do the heavy lifting.
They are heroes to us. And greater yet, they are heroes to those men, women, and children they have helped house: About 25,000 veterans and veteran families over the past 5 years, all one at a time.
They go out and conduct curb-level street searches, looking for homeless veterans in camps, abandoned buildings and kitchens. This can mean entering some dangerous neighborhoods. (We’ve partnered on several of these “blitzes” – they’re not just knocking door-to-door!) Once they locate a homeless veteran, they work hard to get the former service member fully ID’ed and connected to VA programs and benefits.
Their screening includes eligibility for the HUD-VASH vouchers. If approved, the VASH social worker gets the veteran in the pipeline for housing. Once they find appropriate VASH housing for the veteran, negotiate the lease, and have the veteran ready to cross the threshold into their own housing, the VASH social worker submits a housing referral to us. 99% of the time we can approve this referral in minutes and have the check cut, signed, addressed, stamped, and sent to the landlord the same day.
The Ann Arbor VA Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program coordinator, Shawn Dowling, and 1Matters/Veterans Matter volunteer Shawn Kellerbauer talk to a veteran during a Project Connect event in Adrian, MI, in 2013.

The Ann Arbor VA Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program coordinator, Shawn Dowling, and 1Matters/Veterans Matter volunteer Shawn Kellerbauer talk to a veteran during a Project Connect event in Adrian, MI, in 2013.

Each veteran’s story is different. All of this is hard work, and each social worker becomes an expert in identifying and then overcoming any and every barrier to domestic autonomy.

 
“I found a veteran, literally living on the streets, with his very small dog and a bicycle. We were able to talk to him about the HUD-VASH program and then get him a housing voucher. We found a place where the utilities are included in the rent. I was able to also apply for a “Hardship Waiver”, for the veteran which he was granted. Usually the vets have to pay some portion of their rent each month. The waiver exempts them from even the $50.00 a month minimum, charged by the local housing authorities. This veteran had not worked in years and had no source of income of any kind.  It is hard to imagine how he had been living in the streets and eating what meals he could from local churches and missions for over five years. Veteran was grateful to the point of tears, to be warm, in his own apartment, both for himself and for his small companion. Again, without Veterans Matter it would have taken much longer to house this veteran. But now he is warm and for the first winter in five years, he will not have to brave the cold of trying to survive living outside.  Since he moved into his new apartment the VA has helped him to find second hand furniture, pots and pans, dishes and cleaning supplies and many other necessary household items. It is heartwarming to visit veteran and see how happy he is to be off of the streets and maybe, most of all, to have a place to call home.” – VASH Social Worker
But, after all that work, the VASH staff isn’t done. In fact it just starts. One of the more important aspects of the Housing First approach is continued case management to help in addressing the needs that Veterans have beyond housing; often needs that will help them stay in housing. It is also the VASH social worker’s responsibility to provide wrap-around case management to support that veteran and ensure their success. This is all driven by goals created by the veterans themselves, such as recovery, job training, or education. The social workers help them accomplish those goals, no matter the barriers.
The huge success of Veterans Matter is fueled mostly by the compassionate determination of these VASH social workers and the desire of our homeless veterans to get off the streets. They do the work before and after we bridge that final funding gap not covered by the voucher.
We believe the social workers are the true heroes of this VASH program, which is proving to be very extraordinarily successful. In fact the program is averaging a 91% success rate keeping the Veterans housed over a year.
Yes, much attention has been focused on the delays on the Medical side of the VA. But on the other side of the house the heroes who help our nation’s homeless veterans get housed so fast, and stay housed are the social workers. We believe the reason for success is the wisdom in hiring Masters Level Social Workers. In practice we get to watch them work, and succeed.
To those men and women who wear compassion as the armor to house and protect our Veterans, we salute you as we would a Five Star General. You inspire us. The stories of housing veterans make us cry. Your tireless work is making a real impact in the lives of thousands of veterans now finally, truly home. Thank you for your example of compassion and for being beacons of how a real civilized nation takes care of its own.
 
I was with a veteran who had been homeless for three years.  We signed his lease with the landlord and he asked me to drop him off at the library where he checks his email.  About 10 minutes after dropping him off he called me in tears and said “you know as I was walking into the library I realized I have my own apartment and a key in my pocket. I know where I will sleep tonight.  It seems like the stress of years of homelessness has been lifted off my shoulders.  Thank you for helping me”.   Well Ken, that sentiment goes to the good people at Veterans Matters as well.  Later he gave me a decoration to hang in my office.  It has a house shape with a heart on it and says, HOME is a starting place for LOVE and DREAMS.  Sort of glad I am the only person in the office right now so others don’t see the tears rolling down my face while I write this.  The other thing about housing homeless veterans is that so many of them tell me that it takes a long time for them to believe that they are housed.  Like a homeless PTSD.” – VASH Social Worker
 

For our site visitors who aren’t as social as we are – at least, not following us on Twitter or Facebook – here are some highlights from the past week on social media from Veterans Matter.

We…

…believe this 60 Minutes segment by Scott Pelley, Coming Home, which aired last Sunday night, was great coverage portraying the struggle, courage, commitment, and sacrifice our service people continue to make even after war. Don’t miss the extra segments and Pelley’s photo gallery.

…found this article on Stars & Stripes about the differences in the nature of concussions between athletes and soldiers very interesting. New studies indicate those differences contribute to the reason why soldiers and Marines don’t recover from their head injuries as quickly, and could very well mean new – and hopefully, more effective – ways of treating these “invisible wounds”.

…liked that student veterans will soon be able to get in-state tuition at public colleges because of S.2450 – Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.

…saw and shared more news coverage from Final Salute, Inc., which was a great segment on the particular obstacles female veterans face in returning to civilian life after service.

…loved this photo from the U.S. Coast Guard, and thought it was a great start to a Wednesday!

 

…applaud Indianapolis for implementing this hotline for veterans experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. The 24-hour hotline can help veterans with everything from housing to education.

…were thrilled to post that another 6 veterans/veteran families were housed over the last week, and updated our Veterans Housed to Date page to reflect our new total number of 559 housed veterans.

…are thrilled to announce that mega-veteran supporter Gary Sinise has joined our roster of famous friends helping us get the word out about housing our homeless heroes. Gary recorded a great video PSA, which we will be releasing shortly. We are grateful to this true patriot, whose own Gary Sinise Foundation has been doing fantastic work on behalf of veterans for several years now, for adding his voice to the cause!

Hollywood actor and part-time rocker Gary Sinise performs at the 4th Annual America Supports You Military Tribute Concert as part of the Military Appreciation Month celebrations. Sinise and "The Lt. Dan Band" jammed for a standing-room-only crowd packed into the courtyard of the Pentagon.

Hollywood actor and part-time rocker Gary Sinise performs at the 4th Annual America Supports You Military Tribute Concert as part of the Military Appreciation Month celebrations. Sinise and “The Lt. Dan Band” jammed for a standing-room-only crowd packed into the courtyard of the Pentagon.

 

For our site visitors who aren’t as social as we are – at least, not following us on Twitter or Facebook – here are some highlights from the past week on social media from Veterans Matter.

We…

…wrapped up #Dine419, and were so grateful to our sponsors, media sponsors, restaurants, and of course, DINERS! Thanks to the following businesses and organizations for working to hard and giving so much to get more homeless veterans housed:

…were saddened by the loss of former Army staff sergeant (and famous actor) Leonard Nimoy, who passed away about one month shy of his 84th birthday. He lived long and prospered, but it’s still hard to think of him gone. RIP, Mr. Spock.

…got choked up watching this story about a former Marine who passed away homeless but not without great honor, thanks to his community.

…shared that huge veteran fan and supporter Kid Rock (one of our own supporting celebrities) has a new album out. First Kiss is now on sale, and has gotten some great reviews!

 

…said Happy 100th Birthday to the U.S. Navy Reserve! (Did you know that so far we’ve housed 103 Navy veterans? Want to house more? You can donate here.)

…retweeted that March is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month.

…felt this proposal to the G.I. Bill could be a great idea to help veterans move forward.

…hit, then passed, our latest milestone of housing 550 veterans and veteran families!

…thought this story about a homeless veteran finding a valuable class ring and returning it instead of cashing in on it, who then had the owner raise over $100,000 for him, and who then decided he needed to take care of other homeless veterans, was pretty darn awesome.

 

For our site visitors who aren’t as social as we are – at least, not following us on Twitter or Facebook – here are some highlights from the past week on social media from Veterans Matter.

dine419_HollywoodCasinoWe…

…were very busy sharing #Dine419 information, posting photos of amazing food by great Toledo restaurants. Proceed s from certain meals eaten at certain restaurants during the week of February 23 – March 1 will help us get more veterans housed. So we posted updated like these:

  • The list of restaurants who participated, which can also be found here: http://www.dine419.org/restaurants.html
  • The editorial of Toledo Free Press publisher, Tom Pounds
  • Photos like the one at right of the mouth-watering food available during #Dine419
  • An interview Ken did with Fred LeFebvre of 1370 WPSD about Veterans Matter and #Dine419
  • The Toledo Free Press article about the work of Veterans Matter (page 14)

…also took some time to remind everyone of why #Dine419 and our work is so important by posting this quote by a VASH manager:

 

…updated our Veterans Housed to Date page because we’ve now housed 547 veterans!

…thought this information about free tax prep for veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs Twitter account was valuable.

 
 

What Does It Mean to Love Our Veterans? hand holding heart with camo background and veteransmatter.org logo

I remember taking an aptitude test, administered by the U.S. military, my junior year of high school. It revealed I had a fair knack with mechanical things. This was not surprising as much as the new idea of a career in the armed forces. Despite my lack of firm occupational direction at that time, entering the Air Force (which is where I leaned during this brief notion) had not been on my list. Eventually, I dismissed the idea for myself – my issue with living a disciplined life was already evident in my need to lose weight before I could realistically apply to join.

Perhaps you, like me, entertained but never committed yourself to serving your country in the military. Perhaps, for various reasons, it was never even an option. Perhaps you are a veteran, or are actively serving. Together, we are Americans, each in our roles of working, serving, and enjoying our freedoms.

We know we owe these freedoms to generations of brave men and women. We’ve all pledged our allegiance to the same basic ideals. We recognize the ultimate sacrifices on Memorial Day, celebrate our shared independence on the Fourth of July, and say ‘thank you’ to veterans known and unknown, near and far, on Veterans Day.

We are outraged to hear of mismanagement that jeopardizes care for veterans. We are shocked by the soul-shattering statistic that 22 veterans a day – yes, a DAY – commit suicide. We can all agree that the words ‘homeless’ and ‘veteran’ don’t belong together, even less the fact that one in seven unhoused people are former service men or women.

But these are all reactions to problems which have existed for a while now, problems that will continue to exist until we all come together in more than just words and observances. The great news is a foundation has been laid to solve each one of these problems – changes in the VA to correct mismanagement from a new Secretary, the ‘Clay Hunt’ Act to stem the tide of veteran suicide, and an unprecedented concerted effort by the VA, HUD, and the Obama administration, along with communities across the nation, to virtually eliminate veteran homelessness.

Love is a Verb

It’s all happening NOW. Now is the moment to truly support our troops. The time for cards and care packages during war is dwindling; the time for creating a ‘home’ to come back to is overdue. Like my dad always told me, “Actions speak louder than words.” Or, if you prefer the way our founder Ken Leslie has put it, “Compassion without action is just a word.”

We know many folks are struggling themselves; it’s not always an option to give out of a nearly empty wallet. Trust us, our veterans understand hard times. Yet just like not all of us can (or did) serve in the military but all of us are capable of rallying to support those who can and did, we can still take any number of actions:

  • Contact elected officials to let you know you support their commitment to veterans on every level
  • Share facts with others about the issues facing veterans and encouraging them to do their part
  • Learn more about the solutions for these issues – and others – and advocate on behalf of veterans to push good solutions forward
  • Subscribe to our RSS feed and/or our email newsletter, and share what comes your way with those who might find it interesting
  • And, for those who are able, donate here – knowing that what you give gets veterans off the streets, out of shelters, and into a warm home… just the start of a new life for them!

Those are just a few ways that together, we as Americans, can take roles of bringing the change our veterans need. Let’s not just say we love our veterans, let’s actually love them back to health and home with our action-filled compassion!

 

For our site visitors who aren’t as social as we are – at least, not following us on Twitter or Facebook – here are some highlights from the past week on social media from Veterans Matter.

We…

…got excited about a much-needed transfusion of funds into Operation Michigan on Monday. (For those who don’t know how we operate, you can either donate to ‘Operation Greatest Need‘, which is any area where we have ready veterans waiting for housing but no monies to get them there, or you can donate directly to an established area of operation.)

…invited everyone (in the Toledo, OH, area) to join us this Thursday, February 19th, at Hollywood Casino for the #Dine419 Kickoff Party.

…gave some well-deserved respect to former U.S. Army Captian Jas Boothe for creating Final Salute, which has housed over 300 female veterans!

…created this little video in celebration of our third anniversary to animate the story of how we started our work.

…housed another 10 veterans/veteran families in the last week! Check our Veterans Housed to Date page for more details.

…revealed that we’re working on another PSA from our latest celebrity supporter, Toledo native political satirist P.J. O’Rourke.

 

For our site visitors who aren’t as social as we are – at least, not following us on Twitter or Facebook – here are some highlights from the past week on social media from Veterans Matter.

We…

…told you all the story of how Veterans Matter launched and began to spread beyond Toledo, Ohio.

…shared the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2016, which will help reduce homelessness.

…were glad to hear and spread the news that the “Clay Hunt” Bill passed the Senate and is headed to the White House for signing. The bill seeks to improve mental health access and treatment for veterans in order to stem the tide of suicides. Currently, an average of 22 veterans take their own life every day.

…told you about Cathay Williams, the U.S.’s first African-American female soldier.

…knew housing the homeless saved money, but were pleasantly shocked to find out the Housing First approach saves communities THREE TIMES more than leaving them in shelters and on the streets. Three times!

…thanked our awesome sponsors for #Dine419. Seriously, these are some great folks!

…updated our social media friends on the latest Veterans Housed to Date info – now up to 529 veterans/veteran families!

…mourned the loss of Toledo’s ‘Prince of Compassion’, Mayor D. Michael Collins. Collins, a former Marine, fought hard on behalf of the unhoused community, whether veteran or not while a city council member, then implemented changes to ensure Toledo would regain its true spirit of compassion. He leaves behind many friends and a city grieving, but also a legacy that touched and taught many.

CollinsMattersMemorial_1000x523

 

CollinsMattersMemorial_1000x523

He took care of our own.

I cried yesterday, just as many across the city of Toledo – and beyond – cried because we lost a dear friend.

Not a friend, but a dear friend. That’s Mike. He had the ability to makes us feel like dear friends, didn’t he? We just knew he cared.

And he was a very dear friend to those in need. We all know for the past six years there has been turmoil in funding policy for the unhoused. One group felt we should close the shelters, and the other group felt the shelters needed to be there to act as landing pads for all citizens who fall through the cracks.

Mike Collins was one of the heroes who stood up for the unhoused, who stood up for the shelters, who fought – and I mean fought – to ensure all Toledoans had a place to go when times get desperately tight.

And he fought hard in standing up with Renee, Denise, Paula, Steve, Lindsay, Tom, and others on City Council to provide the funding for the shelters to continue operations. This is all public knowledge.

But it is the behind the scenes things he did that proved “Collins Cares”.

One day I got a call from Councilman Collins that the city had found a man camping in the woods in South Toledo. Mike wanted me to know so we can go out there and see if there was any way we could help him return to domestic economy.

On another day with another call, Mike alerted us that the city would need to bulldoze an area where one of our friends had been camping out. He wanted to give one week notice so we would be able to help the man relocate, hopefully to a shelter. When it became apparent we needed another week to be able to get that man mentally ready to go into St. Paul’s, he got us that other week.

There were other calls like that because, well, Collins Cares.

I told a friend after one of those calls that Mike was just a true Prince of Compassion. Most of the time when politicians call for help it’s usually for one of their family or friends. But with Mike all citizens, housed or unhoused, were his family and friends.

When we went to the White House last summer he told everyone we talked to about how special Toledo is in compassion. But I guess they already knew; that was why we were there.

If you distill politics to its essence, it is nothing more than a group of allies working to get another ally elected to execute policy to benefit business, the environment, personal gain, public welfare, or other agenda. To do so, politicians create promises and slogans conveying whatever messages are necessary to gain the three seconds needed for you to push the ballot lever next to their name.

With compassion as one of our strongest values and assets as a community, we knew “Collins Cares” was not a political slogan, it was just a statement of fact. And after he was elected he executed his policy of caring. Those who had chosen policy over compassion quietly resigned. Our community then returned to what it has always been: A compassionate community working together for all citizens, housed and unhoused.

He appointed a Director of Neighborhoods with an amazing ability to bring people together for the greater good.  All of the shelters and programs started working together without acrimony. Funding decisions are again being made based, not on favoritism, but rather a laser-like focus on what’s best for the people we are trying to serve.

Collins Cares.

I consoled a friend yesterday with the words, “Remember, the degree of pain for the loss equals the degree joy from the love. More love equals more pain. It is in the love that we all win.”

But imagining the degree of pain his family and closest of friends feel hurts even more. We lost a dear friend yesterday, but others lost a husband, a father, a grandpa, and best friend. We pray for their peace.

All of us lost a champion who fought for every one of us while he served in the Marines, on the beat, or in government.

I love you, D. Michael Collins. You taught me and our community so much. I loved fighting alongside you. I loved caring with you. Tonight someone is sleeping in a warm bed in a warm shelter that may have been closed and cold but not for YOUR power of compassion.

You will be remembered as a true Prince of Compassion. Thank you so much, Michael. Thank you.

 
Night rocket launch

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CC license
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/16389062375

The Start of Veterans Matter

What does that mean, anyway – “0 to 35 in 11”? Actually, it means something pretty incredible. It describes the speed of real compassion for veterans, a commitment to making a difference that moves people to urgency, greasing bureaucratic wheels that normally respond slowly.

It’s the story behind the start of Veterans Matter, which didn’t exist on February 7th, 2012. That was when Shawn Dowling, the coordinator of the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans program, told Ken Leslie about one of the most significant obstacles in the path of housing veterans: rental deposits.

Ken, who’d started Toledo’s Homeless Awareness Project, Tent City, over 20 years ago, and Shawn had already worked together. Not only did the VA have a special area for veterans at Tent City, the two had gone on street searches in Toledo and in Flint, Michigan, looking for homeless veterans. Both were experienced, dedicated, and passionate people when it came to advocating for those they were serving.

That is why, when Shawn related that she had 35 HUD-VASH vouchers and approved veterans waiting for to use them but her hands were tied to actually get them into housing, Ken was compelled to act. The fact that around $750 meant these veteran men, women, and families would stay homeless until enough funds loosened up here and there to scrape together a rental deposit outraged him. The problem was simple: not enough money. So the solution was simple: get the money supplied. But how?

Ken knew the head of the Advocacy Fund at ProMedica Health System in Toledo. The day after he learned of the issue from Shawn, he phoned Barb Petee and told her about it. Then he asked for enough funding to house the 35 veterans for whom Shawn had vouchers, to the tune of $26,250. That was the 8th of February.

For those who don’t know how the grant process works for nonprofits, there’s a good word to describe almost all of it: Slow. Grantmakers must review dozens of applications for a limited pot of money, performing due diligence and ensuring candidates fit within the vision of the granting organization and can be trusted to accomplish the goals they claim the grant will help them achieve. The process understandably takes months.

But when we’re talking about ending homelessness for individuals and families – not just a faceless group – we’re talking about life and death solutions for some, and, at the very least, a safe and stable base for rebuilding life for all. Ken understood this well, from having lived out of his car as a homeless comedian in the late 80’s. One night on the streets is one night too many, especially for the children involved. So a months-long process to get rental deposit money wasn’t going to work. Ken tried his best to underscore the urgency of the situation. Barb told Ken she’d see what she could do.

Waiting is not something Ken does well, particularly when there’s a solvable problem affecting people he cares about. Unfortunately, there are not many places to turn to get over $26,000 given to you, so while Barb worked on things on her end, Ken had to sit tight.

It may have seemed like forever to Ken, but it was only seven days later, on Valentine’s Day at 5:36 p.m., that Barb called Ken to say ProMedica would fast track the solution to this problem and grant 1Matters.org the money to house all 35 veterans. Three days later, the first veteran family was approved, and Ken cut the check directly to the landlord. That kind of speed is virtually unheard of, and speaks to the compassion and commitment of ProMedica to help its community.

The process between the VA social worker (VASH manager) referrals to 1Matters and the check sent to the landlord worked so quickly and so smoothly that it seemed ridiculous to keep this idea in-house. Soon enough, the 35 veterans would be housed and the grant from ProMedica used up. But there were more than 35 veterans out there to help. Ken’s wheels started turning. He called this new, budding program branch of 1Matters ‘Veterans Matter’.

Because of contacts in the entertainment industry, including a strong relationship formed with John Mellencamp and several people in his management group after John’s appearance at Tent City in 2007 (it was this appearance, in fact, that sparked the name 1Matters), Ken hoped to leverage their notoriety to get the job of housing homeless veterans done for as long as needed in Toledo. That’s how he came into contact with Dusty Hill of ZZ Top, a long-time supporter of veterans, who agreed to shoot a video PSA when the band passed through the area that summer. Dusty became so captivated by the mission that just a few months later he and his wife initiated the launch of Operation Houston (now Operation Texas), along with a few others committed to the cause.

From there, Veterans Matter picked up speed, garnering more celebrity supporters and more people and organizations in other areas interested in starting their own operations. Ken worked quickly to get a cloud-based, confidential referral software solution in place that would allow VASH managers to enter their referrals into a database and immediately send them to Veterans Matter for approval. This solution allows Veterans Matter to review, approve, send approval notifications, and cut checks directly to the landlords within just a few minutes. That initial sense of urgency has never let up, and continues to drive Ken and his small team (one part time staff person, and two contractors).

Now nearly three years later, Veterans Matter has housed over 525 veterans and veteran families, about 820 people in total, including 215 children. While we celebrate these numbers every day, we have our eyes on our 2015 goal: 1500 more.

Our mission is to house as many unhoused veterans as we can, as fast as we can, while preventing more from becoming unhoused. When Veterans Matter supplies the rental deposit for one veteran family, other funds from the community are kept available to prevent another veteran family from ending up on the streets.

Please join us. We have a limited-time window of opportunity to virtually end veteran homelessness as a nation. HUD and the VA have the vouchers and considerable political support for this effort. We ask that you help us do what’s right and serve the men and women who’ve served our country. Work with us to get more veterans housed. Donate today to celebrate our third anniversary. Donate in memory or in honor of a veteran. Donate because it’s the least we can give for those willing to give the most.

Thank you. Thank you for mattering to veterans.

 

For our site visitors who aren’t as social as we are – at least, not following us on Twitter or Facebook – here are some highlights from the past week on social media from Veterans Matter.

We…

…got very upset when we read this story about a homeless man having lighter fluid poured on him before being set on fire. When we say our veterans on the streets are being beaten, robbed and killed, we mean it. Violence against the unhoused isn’t legally seen as a hate crime, but happens more often than any crime that is classified as one.

…found out that VAntage Point, the VA’s blog, reposted our ‘500 milestone’ post from November just recently.

…cheered on Fairfax County, Virginia, which just committed to ending veteran homelessness this year. Virginia is part of Operation Mid-Atlantic, so we’re excited about the news!

…shared how important the Point-In-Time Count is for measuring the success of ending veteran homeless news with an article from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

starsandstripes_jan302015_frontpage…were absolutely thrilled with the wonderful feature report in Stars & Stripes about the Veterans Matter program. We were on the front page!

…updated our social media friends on the latest Veterans Housed to Date info – now up to 528 veterans/veteran families + 79 spouses + 214 children = 819 people off the streets!

…drooled over all the restaurants participating in #Dine419. Seriously, check out this line-up!

…enjoyed spreading this story about a former Marine who’s traveling the country giving homeless folks and veterans free haircuts.

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