Across the country and here in Northern Michigan, homelessness for our veterans is a growing challenge, but an organization that has been up and running here for less than one year is already having a big impact.
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program has already helped 178 veterans in a 21 county area get back on their feet and find homes. SSVF has been a nationwide program since 2009, but in October 2012, the Department of Veteran's Affairs provided Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency with a $604,149 grant to bring the program to Northern Michigan and help end homelessness among veterans.
"Sometimes we need help, and sometimes we need to put our pride away and ask for help and that's what this program is for and I'm living proof it works," said Navy veteran, Becky Miracle.
Becky is one of the many veterans who found help at the SSVF. The organization's goal is to support veterans and help them with things like rent, child care, getting rides to work, and many other things to help avoid being homeless.
They found Becky a home and got her back on her feet. Today she is going to college and working at a job that she enjoys.
"Things are going good, and I have a light at the end of the tunnel," said Miracle.
That's what SSVF wants for every veteran who doesn't have a place to call home.
"We've helped a veteran who had a barrier to employment by getting them maybe some uniform that they need for that employment purpose," said Melodie Linebaugh, NMCAA Homeless Programs Manager. "We've helped them with car repair."
Not only do they help veterans, they employ them too. Many of the case managers at SSVF are veterans themselves, and meet one-on-one with their clients to help figure out why they are at risk for being homeless.
SSVF has five offices to serve veterans in 21 counties.
Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska and Benzie are served out of the Traverse City office, 3963 Three Mile Road, Traverse City, 1-800-632-7334.
Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet are served out of the Petoskey office, 2202 Mitchell Park, Suite 4, 1-800-443-2297.
Mason and Manistee are served out of the Manistee Goodwill office, 449 River Street, 231-398-7328.
Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Cheboygan, Iosco, Crawford, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Otsego, Presque Isle and Roscommon are served out of Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency in Ossineke, 11765 U.S. 23 S., 1-866-484-7077, ext. 278.
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