Minnesota Legionnaire – MACV continues to be a force for homeless veterans
Last year, MACV touched the lives of 5,000 veterans in
The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, founded
some 28 years ago, continues to be a major force in
Minnesota on behalf of veterans and, in particular, homeless
“A lot of our clients simply just didn’t get a break,” said
Neal Loidolt, president and CEO of the non-profit. “We all
got breaks in our lives that helped us succeed. But for some
people, at one point everybody went left and they went
right. They were put in a tough spot.”
Finding a home for somebody is much more than giving
them the key to an apartment. Statistics from MACV show
that 61 percent of the homeless have a physical limitation,
mental illness, PTSD, chemical dependency, traumatic
brain injury or a combination of the above.
The goal of MAVC is to solve the problems that caused
homelessness, and do it in a permanent way. The problems
may involve not having a job, alcoholism or drug addiction,
legal snafus, or domestic abuse.
This past year, over 600 housing placements were made.
In just the past few weeks, MACV could be seen with
the Minnesota Twins and WCCO television staging a holiday dinner for homeless vets at Target Field.
A few days later, MACV was part of an effort with Wells
Fargo to bring a Tribute Bell to Minnesota for use by veterans.
The Stand Down for veterans in Duluth this year, an
event where veterans can get services, information, haircuts,
and much more, was held in conjunction with the
Duluth Music Festival.
Work is underway to have the Stand Down in Rochester
be part of Rochester Days.
All this public exposure of MACV, and its mission of
ending veterans homelessness, is not an accident. The
organization is deliberately reaching out and forming partnerships
that can help the mission.
Much of this additional emphasis on working with others
is due to the leadership of Loidolt, who is in his third year
at the helm.
Loidolt joined the military in 1984 when he enlisted in
the National Guard as an ammunition specialist. While in
the Guard, he went through the ROTC program at St. Cloud
and became an Army officer. Along the way he also earned
a law degree at Hamline.
Loidolt served two tours in Iraq, one as a deputy director
in the reconstruction office and the other as chief of staff for
Minnesota’s 34th Division. He is currently a two star general
and serves as Minnesota’s Deputy Adjutant General.
He will retire from the Guard this summer after 35 years
Loidolt said he looked around for what to do with his
post-military life, and the choices were either to go into the
business world, or to try and use his skills in the non-profit
He decided on MACV. “The opportunity just seemed
right. I wanted to help a group that could use my help.”
The challenge of veterans’ homelessness is a major one.
“One thing I learned in the Army was organization. I can do
that. But housing has been a high learning curve for me.”
He said he didn’t try to do it all at once. “My first year
was mainly just paying attention. The second year was dealing
with the crises and related things. I think the third year
we can do some stuff.”
Click to read full article: Legionnaire Feb 2019, Neal Loidolt, MACV, www.mac-v.org