300 Veterans Housed & Mr. Ken Goes to Washington

Forgive the lack of updates on blog. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter if you would like to keep up with the updates in real time.

Also, please forward this to any of your friends or business associates who also care about our veterans as much as you do.

The great news is we haven’t written lately because we have been busy helping house veterans.

300thVetHoused

Yes!!!!!! Three hundred veterans and veteran families have now been housed by Veterans Matter in six states. How cool! That is what it is all about.

We are now in fundraising mode for Ohio, Michigan, Washington, and the rest of Texas. Anybody you know we should connect with, let us know.

What your help has done

This is the latest that YOUR participation has led to. Because of your help, and the help of others, we were invited to the White House to participate in the White House Summit to End Veteran Homelessness. (See below for Ken’s first-hand account.) This was 70 of the national thought-leaders on veteran homelessness, from both sides of the aisle, coming together to focus on one thing, the very thing that caused YOU to join us: Housing our Heroes!

What they like about Veterans Matter is how fast and efficient we are. We can literally be operational in any city in one hour and house veterans the same day. And of course, something fast and efficient is indeed an anomaly in the government, eh?

The work begins now as Veterans Matter joins others in this mission: the White House, Joining Forces, VA, HUD, USICH, Atlas Research, the Rapid Results Institute, Community Solutions, and all the other local community partners to focus on 25 cities to end veteran homelessness and crack the code to end all homelessness.

Thank you, Cumulus, and…

For May, the kick-off of the national public service campaign on Cumulus was a huge success by nearly every measure. About $30k was raised in May, and we have about 5 groups in different parts of the country who are now establishing events to help raise the money for the veterans in their areas. Conservatively, that will likely amount to at least another $100k. This would not have happened without YOUR help.

We love giving credit where credit is due. To date, we have a dozen artists engaged with Veterans Matter and more to come. And credit for each of those artists is shared with their incredible management, publicists and staff who too care about helping us get the unhoused veterans a pillow for their heads tonight, rather than concrete.

Cumulus Media
Darius Rucker
Darryl Worley
Dusty Hill
Emerson Drive
Heart
Ice-T
Jennifer Nettles
John Fogerty
John Mellencamp
Kid Rock
Kix Brooks
Mitch Albom
Natalie Stovall + The Drive
Stevie Nicks
Gary Sutton of WSBA-AM910 in York, PA
TJ Hart of WJBC-AM1230/FM98.7 in Bloomington, IN
Lauren Cohen & Rob Hart of WLS-AM890 in Chicago, IL
Lisa Wexler of WFAS-1230AM in Westchester, NY
Jim Buchanan of WICC-600AM in Bridgeport, CT
Hal Jay of WBAP-AM820 in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Robert Rees of 98.3 The Torch FM in Urbandale, IA
Kevin Miller of KARN-102.9FM in Little Rock, AR 

We thank you all again

Our efforts are growing on other fronts… Balls are rolling, and we will keep you informed of the progress. For example, in some cities we will be doing blitzes to the camps, abandoned buildings, and streets to find other unhoused veterans who may not know about the program and get them housed. Other cities are planning concerts, and we’ll need all the help we can get from YOU to make it happen. We will indeed keep you informed of all the progress so you can help in any way you desire. Keep up real time on Facebook and Twitter, and click here to join our email list if you haven’t.

And where it really counts, we have now housed 300 veterans, including veteran families with children in six states. YOUR support, YOUR voice, YOU leading by example is what reminds all Americans, time and again, that we must take care of our own. If we don’t, who will?

All of this has been done because you care. And we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are my heroes, and you are the heroes to every one of the men, women, and children who no longer have cement for a pillow. Veterans Matter: YOU take care of our own!

Mr. Ken Goes to Washington

whitehousevisit_michelleUntil you are actually sitting there – the East Room of the White House, watching formerly homeless veterans who have been housed tell their story, then First Lady Michelle Obama works to unite all who care about them, Democrat and Republican, to help end veteran homelessness by 2015 – do you believe it is really going to happen.

Being personally invited to the White House to be a part of the national solution to end veteran homelessness was one of those things in life that you never even think of. Why would you? It never happens to us “regular” people. That is one of those “Sure, when hell freezes over” scenarios.

I couldn’t believe it. A formerly homeless alcoholic sitting in the White House. I kept waiting to hear “How did he slip in? Security!” And my friends, they believed it even less.

But when you find out the reason you are there is because 70 or so other people, (someone called them “thought leaders), all have cut out all the bullshit and just put their heads down to focus on what we want to do – get as many veterans as you can housed as fast as we can – then you get charged.

I was awestruck meeting these incredible people who were doing such great work. Michelle Obama had a smile that lit up the entire room.  The new VA Interim Secretary Sloan Gibson, the outgoing HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and the veterans who spoke who were housed by HUD-VASH all rallied the troops to laser-like focus.

Props go to Jessica Venegas, an inspiring woman who helped execute the successful 100,000 Homes Campaign; I want to be like her when I grow up. She is the reason we were there, she is the one who brought our work to the attention of the White House. Also, big props to Luke Tate, White House Senior Policy Advisor, and the new head of USICH, Laura Green Zellinger, who coordinated the conference which followed the Mayors’ Challenge event, which Toledo Mayor Collins attended. By the way, he is fun to wait in a security line with. Love that man.

(As for the White House itself, I can say nothing that has not been said. Remarkable history had been made there. We were in the East Room for the event. When we arrived, we were welcomed by the Marine Corp Band combo. In addition to the hobnobbing, I was distracted by this incredible, beautiful, long piano. I had never seen anything like it. It was a Steinway which had been given to the White House in 1938. I looked it up when I came back. For those who get geeked about such things, this video shows you the piano and its history.)

I personally want to thank all of you for your support. I know the real reason I was sitting there was because of the work you all do to make this happen. I am so grateful!

Back to work. We are now working to raise the funds to house the next 300 veterans in 25 more cities.

Onward – Homeward.

Ken

P.S. Funniest thing: “Hi Ken, and what group are you with?” Me: “I saw an ad on Craigslist for a housekeeper. Turns out this is the house.”  Yep, that’s what happens when you put a comedian in the East Wing. – kml

By |2014-06-19T00:03:26+00:00June 19th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author: