Despite their divergent musical styles of classic rockers John Mellencamp and Z.Z. Top, rap-rocker Kid Rock, and country star Kix Brooks, they’ve come together in the fight to prevent homelessness among veterans.
These well-known Americans are giving their time and money to Toledo, Ohio-based Veterans Matter, a nonprofit working to unite the efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Development to identify veterans at risk for falling into homelessness and those already on the streets — connecting them with the resources they need to find an affordable place to live.
Best-selling author Mitch Albom is involved with the nonprofit too, serving as the honorary chairman of Veterans Matter’s Michigan chapter, fundraising and speaking to groups to raise awareness of the problem. “Our veterans — those men and women who have sacrificed so much to ensure our freedom—deserve better than a home on the streets,” Albom told Veterans Matter.
Ken Leslie, founder of Veterans Matter who once was homeless himself, explained to Lissa Guyton of ABC13 how the program works: “The VA finds the vets and gets them ready for the housing. HUD finds the section 8 housing long term and we provide the deposit money which is often the last barrier preventing them from getting over the threshold.”
Veterans Matter recently celebrated housing its 200th veteran in six states: Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Indiana, Washington, Tennessee, and Massachusetts.
Leslie told Guyton, “Helping people is probably the most powerful thing there is. There are more than 57,000 vets on the streets of our nation, and many of them are abandoned and forgotten. Some of them are beaten, robbed and even killed on the streets. If that happened behind enemy lines, Americans would be outraged. Veterans Matter is our outrage.”
With more vets helped every year, Veterans Matter will continue to demonstrate the power of transforming that outrage into compassion.