On February 6, 2012, during street outreach with the VA, Shawn Dowling, a coordinator with the Ann Arbor Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program (and current CEO of Veterans Matter), told the Veterans Matter team that a deposit was all that was preventing two chronically homeless Toledo Veterans from getting into the ready HUD-VASH housing, with 35 more vouchers for veterans in the pipeline.
When Shawn was asked what the Veterans did when they did not have the deposits and she said some of the Veterans had to go to the churches and VFW’s and beg for it.
The next morning, the Veterans Matter team called a local foundation to find the $26,250 pilot funding to cover the deposits for those veterans.
Seven days later, on Valentine’s Day, 5:36 p.m., the grant was approved, and three days later, the first waiting veteran family was housed out of a family shelter. 11 days from idea to funding, to execution.
Then It Grew
During the taping of a Veterans Matter public service announcement, Dusty Hill of ZZ Top asked Veterans Matter to expand the program to Houston, Texas – which Dusty would help get started. To meet the needs of a national program, an online cloud-based system to allow veterans in Houston or any funded area of operation to get housed. To date that Texas group has raised over $750,000 and housed thousands of Texas veterans.
John Mellencamp did the same for Indiana. Mitch Albom, along with money raised by Katy Perry, Kid Rock, and First Nation Group made housing Michigan veterans possible, with continuing support. The Veterans Matter pilot program then grew and now houses Veterans in 37 states in the US. Help us house even more Heroes and their families nationwide by visiting veteransmatter.org/donate.