Ken on a street "blitz" in Flint, MI, in 2012. These blitzes are searches with the VA to find homeless veterans and get them connected to resources.

Ken (far right) on a street “blitz” in Flint, MI, in 2012. These blitzes are searches with the VA to find homeless veterans and get them connected to resources.

I started Veterans Matter just to house 35 local unhoused veterans. It has now gone viral nationally because it works well, and works so fast. Over 500 veterans already housed nationally.

There are veterans waiting to get housed today! Let me repeat that: there are veterans waiting today, all they need is the deposit! They literally can be in a new home tonight!

Our target this year is to help 1500 veterans get housed. That is why we are moving as fast as we can, and need your help as fast as you can.

All donations right now have a 100% guarantee of not only moving a homeless veteran into long term permanent housing, but freeing up money that allows communities to prevent another veteran or veteran family from replacing them on the frozen streets.

Let me repeat that, too. You can prevent another veteran or veteran family from becoming homeless in the first place.

We are not perpetual fundraisers. We never raise more money than we need; once we have enough for an area of operation we close fundraising and move on to the next AO. This means each year we need to raise enough to match the new vouchers. Nearly ten thousand vouchers were released nationally this year and our goal is to house at least 1500. That means we need to raise a little over a million dollars.

For those who just asked, “Why we don’t help them all?” We will, if we have the money – money you can help provide right now.

NOTE: Is the sense of urgency coming through? That’s because I have been homeless. There is not upside; it sucks! Period. 25% of the people in those 500+ veterans and veteran families we have already housed are children. Pardon the language, but that lights my ass on fire. It’s cold out there and we have the ability to help more people get off the streets today.

Veterans Matter’s innovative partnership with the entertainment industry (20 celebrities and growing – list below), foundations, and the private sector are all working with HUD and the VA to house our ready veterans in literally minutes. Because we can, because we should.

You will truly be a hero to each and every man, woman and child in a veteran family that you give a warm bed in a warm home. Think about that. This is not a sales pitch, just facts.

Veterans Matter has a 100% success rate because the VA staff has already screened the veteran, found permanent housing meeting federal safety guidelines, and verified his/her ability to maintain their housing long-term with the VA’s continuing case management. All they need to cross the threshold into that warm home is the deposit, which we provide.

This is how it works: Once the VA staff has a veteran ready to be housed, they submit a referral to Veterans Matter. Using simplicity of design, technology, and execution, our cloud-based referral system allows all conforming deposit referrals to be immediately approved and confirmed with an email generated to the landlord directly. Because of the strong celebrity support from artists ranging from Katy Perry to Stevie Nicks, many landlords allow our confirmation email to serve as the actual deposit and house the veteran or veteran family immediately. We then mail the check to the landlord the same day.

Because your donations pay the deposit, it frees up money the social workers can then use to prevent another veteran or veteran family from becoming homeless.

Susan Sarandon, no stranger to campaigning on behalf of the homeless, joined the cause in September 2014.

Susan Sarandon, no stranger to campaigning on behalf of the homeless, joined the cause in September 2014.

We are talking about long-term housing in a VA program that has a 91% success rate in veterans and veteran families still housed a year later. Yes, the VA has huge issues on the medical side, but on homeless veterans side they have cracked the code.

.Our impressive roster of celebrity support has been instrumental in disseminating our message and mission. This partnership has over 20 supporting artists raising funds or getting the word out including Katy Perry, Susan Sarandon, Darius Rucker, Darryl Worley, Dusty Hill and ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, Emerson Drive, Heart, Ice-T, Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), John Fogerty, John Mellencamp, Kid Rock, Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn), Mitch Albom, and Stevie Nicks. Each artist produced 30-second public service announcements, which are broadcast nationwide on the Cumulus Media Network annually during May and November, urging fans to “text the word VETS to 41444 to donate any amount on your credit card.”

Honestly, there are veterans and veteran families living in their cars and on the streets right now just waiting for that last piece you will provide: the deposit. That’s all that is stopping them.

We have created the ultimate program for homeless veterans because:

  • We can house them literally in minutes.
  • We have a 100% success rate housing them in a long–term program with a 91% success rate.
  • You know exactly what your donation does: Provide the deposit to house READY homeless veterans who are waiting today.
  • This also prevents others from becoming homeless.
  • Your money does not go to big salaries or overhead.

Veterans Matter is a program of 1Matters.org, a Toledo, OH-based 501(c)3 established in 2007 after singer John Mellencamp visited our annual Tent City/Stand Down event in 2007. John was so impressed he invited every Tent City guest to his show that evening and one came back after and said, “Ken, John talked to us from the stage, I guess I really do matter.” – and 1Matters was born. John has continued his paternity. Overhead costs for Veterans Matter are provided by the founder’s company and 1Matters, and program costs are running at an impressively low 17%-20% depending on revenue.  Feel free to compare that anywhere.  For more information you can just Google “homeless veterans matter” or visit VeteransMatter.org

If you are one who cares about our homeless veterans, PLEASE donate right now and then share this with your friends of like mind. We can do this, and we can do this right now.

This is your chance to give back to our heroes.

Here are our current Areas of Operation and how much we need to cover all vouchers for each area for this year:

  • Ohio (Hooray, Ohio State!) 193 Vouchers = $144,000
  • Michigan 177 Vouchers = $132,000
  • Texas – 592 Vouchers = $375,000+
  • Washington State – 335 Vouchers = $250,000
  • Operation Mid-Atlantic (DC, MD, VA) – 289 Vouchers = $216,000
  • Operation Indiana – 127 Vouchers = $95,000

We can open up other Areas of Operation with sufficient funding availability. Contact us for more info if you would like to chat about funding an area.

We have but one implacable standard for every single decision we make: What is best for the people we serve. Nothing else matters, politics, policy debates, critics or opinions. Fortunately homeless veterans are the one topic both sides of the aisle and most Americans fully support, as we should.

While you read this blog another veteran or veteran family is ready to be housed. Are you ready to house them? If so, click here or just text the word “Vets” to 41444 and then click through to make a donation of any amount on your credit card.

Please share this right now on your Facebook or twitter. We must take care of our own.

Onward – Homeward
Ken Leslie, Founder