The North Central Chapter recently supported the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans by collecting and delivering move-in kits to veterans and their families. The Chapter and the PLUS Foundation donated move-in kits with household items, and volunteers from the Chapter delivered and organized the kits. These kits will help five veterans get settled into new homes.

Volunteers were from the North Central States Chapter of PLUS and included from left to right (the "after" photo):Lynnea Prusansky, Erin Singmaster with daughters Reagan and Mackenzie, Sharon Scharf, Aaron Simon, and Nick Schaffran

Volunteers were from the North Central States Chapter of PLUS and included from left to right (the “after” photo):Lynnea Prusansky, Erin Singmaster with daughters Reagan and Mackenzie, Sharon Scharf, Aaron Simon, and Nick Schaffran

Erin Singmaster, RPLU+ and Managing Director at Travelers, was one of these volunteers.

“Supporting our veterans, especially our local veterans, is incredibly important to our chapter.  We continued our partnership with MAC-V for the second year in a row, and this year added a volunteer event to show our support.  It was humbling purchasing all of the household items that go into a move-in kit, knowing the positive impact a kit would have on a veteran.  We can all relate to the stress of moving into a new place, but imagine the additional stress of it after struggling with homelessness or the risk of becoming homeless.  Putting these kits together as a group was positive, powerful and fun.  It was easy to picture a veteran moving into a new place, and having all these items already there for him/her.  I would recommend organizing a move-in kit to anyone looking to give back to our veterans. Brian Peterson, Shaun Riffe, and the entire team at MAC-V made this an easy, impactful event for our group.”

Earlier this year, the North Central Chapter presented a PLUS Foundation Chapter Charity grant to the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans. This is the 2nd year the Chapter has nominated the organization for grant funds, and the $5,000 grant will go to veterans’ assistance for homelessness, employment, and legal support.

The PLUS Foundation was formed in 1998 by industry leaders to enhance the work of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society. Through this entity companies and individuals become part of a collective industry effort to reach beyond our network; to create opportunities for new and diverse talent and to do charitable work.

The Foundation has since been successful in developing programs that reflect generosity and promote diversity, while continuing to support industry related education and research. The Board reinforced the philanthropic and diversity direction with the revision of the mission statement in 2003. This refined mission, timed with the first Conference Cause, began a new phase of dramatically expanded giving and volunteerism. By using a grassroots model – PLUS members directing charitable dollars and being directly engaged in the workings of the Foundation.

If you would like build a Move-In kit, you can view the full list of items on our Amazon Wishlist or Target Wishlist and have one sent directly to our office.

 

Sign up to RENT to Minnesota Veterans.Sign up to RENT to Minnesota Veterans. Do you have an apartment or home that you would like to rent to Veteran, check the photo to sign up!

Do you have an apartment or home that you would like to rent to Veteran, check the photo to sign up!

 

Sign up here.

Governor Tim Walz holds landlord summit at Uptown VFW

Governor Tim Walz told Minnesota landlords today that if they are “…willing to commit to housing homeless Veterans, the state will commit support to them”.

Watch this video to see Gov. Walz commitment to ending Veteran homelessness. WCCO Video.

Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Leimaile Ho said the state’s scarcity of affordable housing is a major barrier between homeless veterans and housing. She stressed the need for more housing, citing rising housing costs and stagnant wages.

“The No. 1 thing we need to do is get the production of housing up,” she said. “But we need to also make sure it’s affordable at the wages that people earn.”

Statewide, the registry shrank by 1,813 people since December 2014. West-central, southwest, northwest and northeast continuum of care regions reached zero veteran homelessness in 2017 and 2018.

Sustaining the success of recent years will mean continuing to tap the registry as cases arise to prevent homelessness, said Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Herke.

He noted five veterans in the region have either lived in temporary housing or elsewhere for fewer than 90 days. One of the federal criteria for declaring zero veteran homelessness is the ability to connect veterans to permanent housing within a 90-day window.

Herke said local agencies are tapping into community, state and federal assets to find permanent housing for the individuals. They’re also in touch with landlords to find good housing fits.

“What needs to be put in place is a preventative process, which really is the process of using the registry,” he said. “And driving home that once you’re identified, we’re not going to let you go until you’re in a safe location where you have permanent housing.”

Minnesota Assistance Council For Veterans has been assisting vets in Mankato, and the Southern Minnesota region, for over 20–years.

“We help homeless veterans and veterans at risk by case managing them through their crisis,” explained Southern Regional Leader Sadie Rezac. “Helping them with temporary financial assistance, getting them employment resources if they need it and then also connecting them to local resources.”

MACV specializes in assisting homeless veterans or veterans at risk of becoming homeless.

Brent Busch organizes a yearly motorcycle ride that aims to raise awareness, and funds, for MACV.

Last year, 110 motorcycles took part, totaling over 150 people.

“This year we’ve raised over $17,000 for MACV just for this ride and we aren’t finished yet. It’s a fantastic outpouring of support. Some of the best we’ve seen,” added Busch.

Around 200 cyclists started in Mankato and made their way to Lake Crystal, St. James and New Ulm in an effort to benefit the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.

MAC-V is an organization that provides fuel and food cards to Minnesota Veterans in need ensuring they have meals and fuel to take care of their daily needs.

“You know MAC-V is a Minnesota organization.  They help veterans in Minnesota.  We do have an office in Mankato that a lot of people aren’t aware of and that’s the whole purpose of this ride is to make people aware of MAC-V, make them aware of their mission and of the great things that they do because they do fight veterans homelessness and they are proactive about it,” said event organizer Brent Busch.

MACV, Sadie Rezac

MACV Awareness Ride 2019, Sadie Rezac

Registration starts at 9:30 Saturday morning at Star Cycle in Mankato.

From there cyclists will ride down the Highway 60 corridor south before turning out of St. James to New Ulm and eventually back to Mankato.

–KEYC News 12

https://www.keyc.com/story/40495841/motorcycle-awareness-ride-benefits-veterans-this-saturday

American Heroes Outdoors Television is a documentation of journey, commitment, struggle and healing. Our program is a tribute to this nation’s service men and women. Their stories are compelling and real. After witnessing the dangers and horror of combat, the outdoors for many veteran military personnel is a therapy.

No veteran chooses to be homeless, and our goal is to achieve “functional zero,” which means finding permanent housing for each veteran on the Registry. When that day comes, it does not mean we will never have another homeless or at-risk veteran. Rather, it means that our efforts will largely be focused on prevention. When homelessness does occur, the goal is that the systems in place will rapidly respond and make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.

If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran at-risk of losing your home or apartment, please call us today at 1-833-222-6228.

Neal Loidolt: Ending veteran homelessness is possible — and the lessons we learn will have broad application.

If we can’t solve veteran homelessness, we will never be able to solve the greater societal problem of homelessness. The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is changing the conversation about veteran homelessness in Minnesota. Our approach: Let’s ask veterans what they really need and provide a bridge to a successful future.

Neal Loidolt, CEO of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans

We focused on women veterans in 2018. The homeless registry began at 17 homeless women veterans and is currently at six. Throughout this year, we housed 35 homeless women veterans. We learned a great deal about dependent children and housing regulations related to legally unrelated minors under the care of a woman veteran. We learned how to get a dangerous-pet rider for a rental agreement, and which creative organizations can help us solve transportation problems. We added new partners like Soldier’s Wish who provided grants to help two women veterans with dependent children out of long-term homelessness.

Most importantly we gained a true appreciation for the unmet need. As we developed new options to serve more women veterans, we discovered more women veterans in need. We also learned that we can end homelessness with a laser focus on people and geographies, one at a time. As the journey of a thousand miles begins one step at a time, the same holds true for ending veteran homelessness: one veteran at a time

We know that ending veteran homelessness is possible, and we are making meaningful strides across the state with a broad coalition of partners, including the Minnesota Housing and Finance Agency, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, the federal Veterans Administration, county veterans service officers, emergency shelters and several private, public and nonprofit organizations.

There are a myriad of reasons why a person becomes homeless — lack of affordable housing, loss of a job, divorce, illness, mental health, substance abuse or legal issues. Additionally, veterans have a self-sufficient mentality and rarely ask for help.

No veteran chooses to be homeless, and our goal is to achieve “functional zero,” which means finding permanent housing for each veteran on the Registry. When that day comes, it does not mean we will never have another homeless or at-risk veteran. Rather, it means that our efforts will largely be focused on prevention. When homelessness does occur, the goal is that the systems in place will rapidly respond and make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.

We are not there yet. We have a vision for the future, but we need additional tools to be successful for the long-term homeless. To that end, we need better choices, including additional resources for long-term case management and more housing options. With housing vacancy rates hovering at a historic low of 1 percent in the Twin Cities, landlord engagement is a critical element to future success.

Sometimes, the solution simply requires more human interaction.

This past year we assisted a 55-year-old Army veteran referred to us by a community partner as she was living in her car, surviving on only $136 per month from her service-connected disability. She had been living with her pregnant daughter who had asked her to leave, needing the space for the new baby. We assisted the veteran in finding and moving into housing and connected her with a HUD-VASH Section 8 voucher. We then enrolled her into our employment program. When she found a job earning over $40,000 per year, she turned back her voucher, as she was earning enough money to live on, so that it could be used by another veteran who would need it more. She didn’t need more money, she just needed our help.

Under the leadership of the Minnesota Housing and Finance Agency, there is good work being done with city and local governments to mutually address the challenges landlords face when considering rental applications for homeless veterans. In addition to providing landlords with incentives, there is a critical need for supportive housing projects that will provide shelter and services for the long-term homeless veterans on the Registry.

I am encouraged to see Gov. Tim Walz make veteran housing with supportive services a priority; the Fort Snelling Upper Post Veterans Community operated by CommonBond is a prime example.

Neal Loidolt outlining ending homelessness during 2018 Standdown at Target Field.

No American veteran should be homeless, because no American should be homeless.  Ultimately what we learn from ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2020 will serve as a template for the rest of the homeless continuum.

Neal Loidolt is president and CEO of Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.

Read the letter from April 11, 2019 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, click here.

Groups Declare End to Veteran Homelessness in NE Minnesota

https://www.wdio.com/news/veteran-homelessness-northeast-coc-/5184822/

The Northeast Minnesota Continuum of Care(CoC), a local organization that works towards ending homelessness, announced Wednesday that they cleared their waiting list for housing homeless veterans in six counties and three Indian reservations.

Paul Pederson with MACV in Duluthhttps://www.wdio.com/news/veteran-homelessness-northeast-coc-/5184822/

The counties that have ended veteran homeless are Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, and Lake Counties. The Indian reservations are Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage of Lake Superior Chippewa and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The counties and tribal governments are ones the Northeast CoC affiliates with. 

The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and VA determined the counties and Indian reservations served by the northeast CoC have effectively ended veteran homelessness.

The northeast Minnesota CoC is the fourth jurisdiction in the state of Minnesota to end homelessness. The West Central, Southwest and Northwest CoC’s all declared an end to Veteran homelessness in 2017.

“We live in a great community. Duluth is phenomenal. The resources and the partnerships are out there and once we come to the table and put our minds to it, there’s nothing that I don’t think we can’t do,” Paul Pedersen, the programs and outreach manager of MAC-V Duluth, said.

The Northeast CoC works directly with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Minnesota Housing and Finance Agency, County Veterans Service Officers, emergency shelters and a number of private, public and non-profit organizations.

“We’ve been working really hard to end veteran homelessness. Since 2015 there’s been a reduction of over 56 percent,” Pedersen said.

“Congratulations to all the partners in the Northeast Minnesota Continuum of Care for making sure local Veterans have a place to call home,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, in a news release. “Building an effective system over such a large, mostly rural area is no small task, and places like Northeast Minnesota should be proud of leading the way.”

The coalition’s work doesn’t end there. It’s important to help veterans maintain their home.

“There will always be homelessness. The focus is on prevention and assisting veterans once they are housed to maintain so that it doesn’t reoccur,” Lisa Lauzon, the case manager for MAC-V Duluth, said.

Now the Northeast Minnesota CoC’s focus is on prevention.

“Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas,” said Cara Lundquist, co-coordinator of the Northeast Continuum of Care, in a news release. “Ending Veteran Homelessness here in the Northeast CoC does not mean that we will never have another homeless Veteran. Rather, it means that our efforts will largely be focused on prevention. When homelessness does occur, the goal is that the systems in place will rapidly respond and make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.”

And that’s done by providing veterans with the tools and resources they need to live a healthy and safe life. It takes a team of passionate and dedicated people to do just that.

“It’s a ripple effect in the community. If we eternally work as a team and accomplish what we’ve accomplished today, I carry that out to the community and I can say we did that eternally,” Lauzon said.

Across the state, efforts since December 2014 have housed 1,622 previously homeless Veterans. Minnesota’s Homeless Veterans Registry has been credited in helping house homeless Veterans. The registry launched in 2014 and has been key in helping ending veteran homelessness by creating housing plans based on each veteran’s challenges and situation. Once on the registry, veterans experiencing homelessness are typically housed within four months.

Read more at WDIO CBS – Click here.

Veterans Tribute Bell Contains Dozens Of Deeply Personal Military Items

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Chief Petty Officer Alan Dix retired from the Navy, but he’s still dedicated to serving those who serve our country. As chair of the Minnesota Veterans Team Members Network for Wells Fargo, he helped make the idea of a tribute bell a reality.

Spirt of Minnesota Bell, MACV, MN, Veterans, mac-v (5)
Spirit of MN Bell on display at the Uptown VFW

The bell contains dozens of military items donated by the community, all with deep personal meaning. “We had a box in every branch in Minnesota and asked people to bring their stuff in, and we had some really interesting donations,” Dix said.

Bill Coy donated one of his father’s dog tags.

“He was stationed in Germany during the Korean war, but he met my mom in Germany so we trace all of us back to that meeting through the military in Germany,” Coy said. It was an easy decision for the family. “It’s beautiful, but it’s also permanent,” Coy said. “Instead of visiting a cemetery, we can say hey the bell’s going to be at the 4th of July parade, we should go.”

MACV’s Jon Lovald says the bell’s portability is part of what makes it so special. “Any organization that has the capacity to pull a small trailer will be able to come and check this out from MACV and take it to their location,” Lovald said.

Spirt of Minnesota Bell, MACV, MN, Veterans, mac-v (5)

It’s a moving symbol for the community.“It’s a reminder of everybody who’s gone before us, the people that are out there serving right now and it’s also a motivator for the future,” Dix said.Click here to see the bell being made.

The MACV supporters and community are always ready to help Veterans.

Last fall, Army Veteran Verne Parker reached out to MACV for help obtaining housing and stable employment. Verne was surviving on less than $150 per month, which made most housing options unaffordable. Her lack of housing created a cascade of challenges, including an inability to obtain and maintain employment that would help her out of this crisis. Her case manager, Mikaela, worked with community partners to connect her with temporary housing so she could focus on finding a new job. She remained diligent and by working with our employment specialist, was able to find a position that allowed her to afford her own apartment. Unfortunately, as many Minnesotans find, the employment she obtained wasn’t easily accessible by public transit from her new home.

This past month, one of our supporters, Jane from Victoria, MN, donated her Honda Civic in hopes of helping a veteran. The timing couldn’t have been better for Verne. Our team was able navigate the process of transferring the title and ownership over to Verne. With this gift of a car, our team and our supporters were able to help connect all the pieces to help one veteran find employment, reliable transportation, and have a permanent place to call home.

In early March 2019, we surprised Verne with keys to her new-to-her vehicle.  She had no idea of what to expect and was overjoyed by the generosity. Take a look at the video of Verne getting in the car for the first time. Click for Video.

If you have a gently used and low mileage vehicle you would like to donate to a Veteran, please contact our team at MACV.  Sustainable housing solutions are about much more than a place to sleep; every veteran has a unique story to tell and their own path to long-term stability. Let’s make sure all of Minnesota’s Veterans have every opportunity to have safe and affordable housing.

From FoxNews.com


Through innovative technology and boots-on-the-ground grit, the state of Minnesota is currently approaching its longstanding goal of ending veteran homelessness.

State and federal agencies have teamed up for a unique, collaborative approach, which involved establishing the nation’s first statewide homeless registry, to combat pervasive homelessness among former U.S. service members in the state, where it frequently reaches subzero temperatures in the winter. The official count of homeless veterans now sits at just 234 for the entire state — down 53 percent since 2010, the Star-Tribune reports.

And they’re not slowing down any time soon. “We are absolutely laser-focused on getting to zero,” said Neal Loidolt, chief executive of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV). “But we shouldn’t stop there: We should take what we are learning with veterans and apply it to the entire homeless population.”

The MACV has been a particularly strong force in the push to end veteran homelessness. The group created the homeless registry, which is reportedly updated in real-time, shares its information with every county in the state, and partners with more than two dozen nonprofits. Each and every veteran in the registry is paired with a case worker, who helps with all elements of the rehousing process, including enrolling veterans in benefit programs and even driving them to meet with landlords.

Volunteers for the group hit the streets weekly to speak with homeless veterans and get them enrolled on the registry, which has reportedly helped 1,700 veterans find homes since its inception. The case workers also try to connect each veteran with an employment specialist, to make sure they can keep their homes once they find them.

Marjorie Kray, who along with her veteran husband Mark had been homeless for the last three years, spoke through tears about the impact the state’s Veteran Affairs office had on their life. “It’s so overwhelming,” she said. “It’s like someone waved a magic wand and turned our lives upside down.”

Robert Kleen, a 60-year-old former U.S. Army officer, nearly faced death on the streets after being stabbed with a butcher knife and surviving a fire when the tent he was living in burned down. Last month, he moved in to a studio apartment after being connected with a social worker who got him approved for a housing voucher, and finding him a landlord who would accept it.

“For the first time in years, I can hold my head high and not live in fear — just knowing where I’m going to be from now on,” he said.

Click to read the full article here.