Oscar-winning actress and activist Susan Sarandon has joined an impressive roster of celebrities using their influence to raise money and momentum for Veterans Matter, a program which partners with the VA and HUD to help house the 57,000 U.S. veteran men and women who are homeless in our country.
“This is personal to me; I want to help Veterans Matter because it is so important that we work to help house the heroes on our streets,” Sarandon told Veterans Matter founder Ken Leslie during a taping last week at WABC in New York.
To date, Veterans Mater has helped house 475 veterans and veteran families in six states. With 9000 new housing vouchers released this month by HUD and the VA, the group has begun fundraising to help house at least 1000 of those veterans nationwide.
Ever since the Obama Administration announced “Opening Doors,” the national strategic plan to end veteran homelessness by 2015 and all homelessness in America by 2020, veteran homelessness has been reduced 33%.
“Great national effort is being focused on housing our heroes by the end of this year,” said Leslie. “Veterans Matter is simply an avenue for us regular Americans who care about our veterans and veteran families with children to replace the concrete with a pillow under the heads of who gave so much. This is why so many celebrities like Susan are joining our efforts.”
So far eighteen celebrities including Kid Rock, Ice-T, Heart, Kix Brooks and others will be featured in nationally broadcast Veterans Matter PSA’s on Cumulus Media and other radio markets during November to support “Veterans Day” on November 11th.
In a broadcast campaign airing in November with Cumulus Media and other radio properties, Sarandon will encourage people to donate any amount by visiting VeteransMatter.org or texting VETS to 41444. 100% of the funds raised go directly to the housing of veterans.
Sarandon, who also co-produced with Thomas Morgan the homelessness documentary Storied Streets, which her son Jack Henry Robbins directed, will stream nationally November 16th as part of a national awareness campaign for the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Veterans Matter, a national program of the John Mellencamp-sparked and supported nonprofit 1Matters, was started by founder Ken Leslie after learning that the biggest obstacle facing many homeless veterans eligible for long-term housing assistance was the lack of a rental deposit. Partnering with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veteran Affairs (VA), Veterans Matter specifically provides those rental deposits for homeless veterans who qualify for long-term voucher-assisted living but are unable fund the initial housing costs.
With the outpouring of celebrity support and the backing of Cumulus Media, Veterans Matter has high hopes of marshaling the support to help house 1,000 more veterans over the next 12 months.