FIRST:  We got an email from the Detroit VA seeking our help, asap.  If you know someone in Detroit who can assume the role of Regional Funding Coordinator, call us today. We are working on the celebrity co-chair for their as we type.

We have now housed 180 veterans and veteran families in Ohio, Michigan, Texas and Massachusetts, and Settle just got a commitment for some start up funds.

We have been sooooo busy housing Veterans and planning for 2014, we have had little time to post.  Below is the update that just went out to our Houston Area of Operation, as well as one that went to all of our registered VA social workers.  Here is the latest!

Hey All,

5 more housed this week, four in Dallas!!!! Way to go people!  Dallas was astounded that we really do move to help the veterans as fast as we say we do.

Overall, to date we have raised $180k for Veterans Matter, $70k of that has come from Houston, and they have now housed 95 veterans in Texas! How cool is that!

Just today we got a commitment for $5000 for Seattle so we will be opening the operation there immediately.  We are now targeting Nashville,  San Diego, and Detroit.  We got a call from Detroit this week begging for our help. It was so moving, lit my ass on fire. We are setting up a couple meetings there next week.  If you all know someone we should talk to in Detroit, let Gary know asap.

Which is a great segue to….

In the Board news, we are thrilled Gary Fruchtman has agreed to join the 1Matters Board of Directors.  His love, passion and commitment, and support is such a blessing to the organization, as it has been to me personally the past twenty years. At our year end meeting last month the Board voted to go all out to house as many veterans as we can this year.  We really would like to help at least 1000 veterans this year.  To that end we are formalizing our existing structure and the model we learned from your work, and then successfully replicated in Indiana. Following Dusty’s example, other compassionate artists are helping to raise the awareness, and Gary, assuming the position of National Funding Chairman for Veterans Matter, will engage the business community in those targeted areas.  Gary will be looking to engage Regional Funding Coordinators who can gather friends to raise $25K – $50k. (think Kevin in Houston) and Funding Coordinators who raise $5000 to $25,000.  (Think the rest of the cool kids in Houston.)

In Indiana, bragging them up, once John M. signed on for Indiana, Jody Balber, the person Gary engaged as the Regional Funding Coordinator in Indiana raised $38k in eleven hours. Eleven fa-reaking hours.  John was impressed and Tweeted her up the next day.  #wetakecareofourown.

We will need to hire a Project Coordinator who will work directly with the VASH social workers to facilitate the referrals, problem resolution, and identify other assets that could help the veterans. (i.e. Sheri’s program, gift cards, etc.)  Also, to facilitate implementation in the VASH programs nationwide, Shawn Dowling with the VA here, who helped start this thing in the first place, is setting up a conference call with the national VA VASH leaders.  If that goes well she feels they will help us fast track implementation in all future targeted areas of operation if the information/introduction comes from “upstairs.”

That’s enough for now.  A lot going on, which means not a lot of time to tell everyone.  We are integrating all facets of the program into one software package which will allow the us to regularly disseminate more information.

All this is great stuff, but all that really counts is the 180 heads who are sleeping on 180 beds in 180 homes, JUST because you decided “America Takes Care of Our Own.”

Thank you all!


Ps.     Below is the update we sent to all of our registered VASH managers, got great feedback from it.   We will be sending them all a survey next to identify any other ways we can serve them, or the veterans they serve, better.

Hi there Susanna,

We are sending this to all of our registered VASH managers and social workers because we would like to keep you up to date on all of the amazing stuff going on here at Veterans Matter. We have been so busy housing veterans with you that we have had no time to send an update!

We have 42 registered VASH staff in Texas, 11 out of Ann Arbor, and three in New England we are working with. We have now housed 170 veterans in 32 cities in 4 states: Ohio, Michigan, Texas and Massachusetts. We are currently expanding to Indiana, and working on securing the funds for San Diego and Detroit.

We are getting big enough that we are hiring a Program Coordinator (PC) to help us, help you.  This will mean you will get very regular updates on the progress of your peers, the program, and ways we have found to get our veterans housed faster.

The Houston Funding Coordinators decided to expand from Houston alone to all of Texas. Dallas has already housed TWO veterans there this year.

Check this out, the same day we opened up fundraising for Operation Indiana we had the program fully funded at $38,000. It took 11 hours!  We are now working to engage the Indiana social workers.

We asked the VASH managers and social workers how they use Veterans Matter and they say: 1) To preserve SSVF money for already housed veterans.  2)  Because lease up funds for homeless veterans are in short supply in their area. 3) They need to house the veteran fast and don’t want to wait for other programs (which could take longer), require the veteran to get another case manager, housing plan, etc. We are glad to serve you all no matter what reason.    And if you think of a way we can serve you better, let us know.  WE SEEK YOUR ADVICE!  If you think of a way we can help you even better, we want to hear it.  Our goal is just to help you, help our veterans.

If you thought you heard about Veterans Matter on the radio, you did.  Cumulus Broadcasting ran our Dusty Hill, John Mellencamp, and Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn) PSA’s nationally November 1 – 11.

Our goal this year simply to house as many veterans as we can, as fast as we can.  We hope to help 1000 veterans nationwide.

AND, we want to say great work to you all in reducing the number of unhoused veterans to 57,849. We know you worked your tails off to make that happen.  YOU are the heroes in this story.  We look forward to the honor of serving you. Thank you for the amazing 2013. 2014 looks very promising.