MACV Expands Outreach Program
MINNEAPOLIS – Veterans need a home for the Holidays. That’s why WCCO is partnering with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) to help make the season brighter.
The group is expanding its outreach program in an effort to connect Veterans with the benefits they’ve earned for their service to country.
Teams are walking through homeless encampments, shelters and places where the unsheltered may gather.
Sunrise signals another trip to a tent city for MACV outreach coordinator James McCloden. He walks through in search of Veterans who need help getting out of the cold.
“I see some [battle dress uniform], camo,” McCloden said.
He looks around for any clues that a military veteran sleeps here. A man he encounters is not a Veteran, but it doesn’t stop McCloden from connecting him with services.
He moves from one encampment to another.
“We go to encampments, if you don’t find them here you go and try and find them, like the [Catholic Charities Opportunity Center], Harbor Lights, Higher Ground, all these different places they’ll go after here,” McCloden said.
This is where partnerships help MACV meet Veterans where they are.
“We’ve set up a situation where they have an ongoing footprint in the building so that we can catch Veterans that are coming in the door,” said Ian Brunzell-Looney with the Salvation Army.
People come to Salvation Army Harbor Lights at different stages of their journey, and that’s why working with MACV is crucial. A simple question can get Veterans immediate help.
“As clients enter shelter and they’re going through like intake with our advocates, they’re asked whether or not they served,” Brunzell-Looney said.
Veterans can benefit from transitional housing on the fifth floor of Harbor Lights, or are referred to MACV. McCloden sometimes finds veterans in between his regular outreach stops.
“So we were talking, he said, ‘You’re homeless?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘I am.’ He said, ‘Wait a minute.’ He pulls out his little laptop and … he asked me questions, and I give him the answer. He said, ‘What do you have?’ And I had my bags and he said, ‘Come on, let’s go,'” Stephanie Hipple said.
She was given a spot at the Snelling Lodge, and she now calls Minnesota home.
“I didn’t know about these benefits until I came to Minnesota,” Hipple said. ” Without James, without MACV, I don’t know where I’d be.”
It’s outreach with a heart and desire to get veterans out of the cold and into a home for the holidays.
You can help MACV’s mission right now by donating to our Home for the Holidays campaign. Every dollar counts, and whatever you donate Wednesday will be matched up to $100,000 by the home building company Lennar.
$40 will help a Veteran with housing support for one day, and $175 will pay for a family’s groceries for one week.
Just text MACV to 44321, or go online to go.mac-v.org/home4holidays22 to make a donation, and your gift will be matched.