Shortly after I was hired at MTU America, Inc. in Mankato, I was tasked with either throwing away or donating all of the slightly used safety shoes that we had acquired from when employees left the company. It was clear to me that we should donate them to people who could really benefit from a good pair of safety shoes. Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans was the first organization to come to mind because they offered help to Veterans re-entering the job market. When most Veterans are looking for a job, they look in the construction and manufacturing industries.
Why was donating these shoes important to me? Simple: most jobs in the construction and manufacturing industry require their employees to wear safety shoes at work. But it went deeper than that. For me, it hit home when I remembered what it was like when I left the Marines and had to look for a job. When I was finally hired as an assembler in the manufacturing realm, I had a new worry about finding a pair of safety shoes so I could start my new job.
The biggest challenge that Veterans face when they get out of the military is trying to get back to some sort of normality. And if only a handful of these safety shoes that were donated make it into the hands of a Veteran in need, then the donation was well worth it. Even though the donation of slightly used safety shoes may seem trivial, it means the world to a Veteran looking for a break when everything seems hard for them — the smallest of gifts or a positive comment can give them hope that better days are on the way.
Choosing MACV as the organization to take the donation wasn’t a hard choice to make, as they do so much for our local Veteran community here in Mankato. I knew there was a need in the community and am thankful that I was in a position to help.
                        -Philip Daniel, Health, Safety, and Environmental Advisor
MTU America, Inc.
For more stories about how MACV helps end Veteran homelessness, sign up for our newsletter here.

 

 

Veterans Virtual Resources Fair

Thursday, July 16th, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Learn about resources, services, and benefits provided by multiple state agencies available to Minnesota’s Veterans, National Guard and Reserves, transitioning service members, and their families!

Visit any of the following virtual booths to be equipped with an understanding of the programs available and how to access these resources:

  • Employment Services
  • Legal Assistance
  • Homeless Services
  • Financial Services
  • Veteran Benefits
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Apprenticeships
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Services

The purpose of this event is to empower veterans, transitioning service members, National Guard and Reserves, and their family members with knowledge about available resources. Participants will learn how to get connected to Employment Services, Legal Assistance, Homeless Services, Financial Assistance, Veterans Benefits, Education, Healthcare, Suicide Prevention/Mental Health Services, Apprenticeship Programs, and Entrepreneurship.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations to attend this event should contact Shannon Sprouse at Shannon.Sprouse@state.mn.us by within 3 days of event.

Click to Register on the Event Calendar

FREE DIRT! Free Garden Supplies!

MACV has recently purchased the lot located at 2314 North 4th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55411 from Urban Homeworks. This lot was previously leased to be used as a community garden through the University of St. Thomas. MACV will build a home for Veterans in need on this lot in 2020. This home will be used to house homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families.

We are asking if anyone would like to remove or take any gardening material from this lot, please do so before June 15th, 2020. Take as much gardening supplies and plants as you’d like, MACV would like to see the garden continue to be put to good use in the neighborhood. MACV will come with volunteers to clean up the lot after June 15th, 2020 to begin preparing the lot for a new home.

MACV is looking forward to becoming a part of this neighborhood and we welcome any questions or concerns. Please reach out to MACV using the contact information below.

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans

1000 University Ave. W., Suite #10

St. Paul, MN 55104

mac-v@mac-v.org | 651-291-8756 | mac-v.org

 

 

Housing Story by the Family Housing Fund.

To end veteran homelessness, a unique public-private partnership has developed in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) has partnered with a private property management company – Property Solutions & Services (PSS) – to develop a referral system that prioritizes permanent housing for homeless Veteran households.

Brian Peterson, MACV CFO

Brian Peterson, MACV CFO

Three years ago, PSS had taken over management of a troubled Minneapolis building where a nonprofit partner was connecting residents to social services. When that project ended, Asher Gavzy, President and CEO of PSS, was inspired to pursue social services for residents. And with the statewide push to end Veteran homelessness in recent years, MACV was his first choice.

The partnership started informally. When PSS had a vacant unit, Asher reached out to Colleen Salinas, Metro Landlord Engagement Specialist at MACV, before listing it publicly. Colleen, working directly with Veteran households, helps determine if the unit will be a good fit for one of her clients. Then MACV ensures the Veteran household has a variety of support, ranging from access to a social worker, housing vouchers, and even funds to cover moving costs to help ensure the Veteran will be a successful tenant. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the particular vulnerabilities of individuals experiencing homelessness and further underscored the need to ensure that everyone is safely housed.

Veterans experiencing homelessness may struggle to find housing because of criminal backgrounds or rental history. Asher says that MACV’s support for Veterans helps mitigate the perceived risk of housing someone who does not meet PSS typical screening criteria.

“We took a different approach that said ‘we need more tools that decrease the risk of housing individuals with backgrounds. Now it’s a good business move, it’s not just taking a chance,” says Asher.

It’s a win-win-win for MACV, PSS, and Veteran households. PSS saves time and money by filling vacant apartment units quickly, while MACV helps ensure Veterans have a safe, stable home.

“Once they’re housed, they stop experiencing other issues,” says Colleen. “The Vets (in the building) look out for each other and hold each other accountable.”

Now the partnership is more formalized, with several PSS buildings under contract to reach out to MACV before publicly listing a unit. So far, 26 Veteran households have found permanent housing as a result of this partnership, and all of the Vets have been successful tenants.

For Asher, “it’s about getting people housed and keeping them housed. And it gives them an opportunity to build good rental history, so they can choose where they go next if they want to move.” After three years, Asher says he absolutely prefers to lease to households referred from MACV, especially now as the COVID-19 pandemic has made listing units more challenging and time-consuming. “You’d be foolish not to do it. It’s a financially smart decision.”

MACV is encouraging more property owners and managers to partner with them using the same model. And it’s even easier now than when PSS first began partnering with MACV, as last year, state funds have created additional resources to mitigate risk for owners who help Veterans find permanent homes. These include an initial incentive for owners, a vacancy loss fund, and a risk mitigation fund managed by HousingLink.

Shaun Riffe, Development Director at MACV, has an even greater vision for the impact of this work. “If we can figure this out for Veterans,” he says, “we could use this same model for any population with similar backgrounds or housing challenges.”

For now, MACV’s focus is engaging more property owners and managers around the Twin Cities to join the program. But MACV’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Peterson is hopeful that this approach can bring long-term change to how we approach housing.

“When everyone gets together and shares their best capabilities, we can do a lot more and house people differently.”

 

If you own or manage rental property and are interested in housing a Veteran, please contact Colleen Salinas at csalinas@mac-v.org.

Message to all MACV Clients Currently Receiving Services – Call Us!

At Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, we are keenly aware of the struggles that many Veterans are experiencing as we cope with the impacts of the Coronavirus emergency. MACV continues to operate and serve Veterans, and delivering our services through phone and email whenever possible.

While we have assisted you in the past year, if your situation has changed and you are now facing uncertainty or challenges that are putting your housing stability at risk, please don’t wait – reach out to us now. Our housing, employment, and legal services teams are ready to support you as needed.

In addition to our direct services, there are a growing number of benefits and resources becoming available for those most impacted in this time. We are assembling a growing list of resources and information about our availability on our website at COVID-19 Link.

Call our staff today:
(833) 222-6228
email mac-v@mac-v.org

For legal support, call VetLaw:
651-200-4750
email vetlaw@mac-v.org

We sincerely hope that you and yours are well, we want to hear from you!

Click map for CVSO offices in MinnesotaHere is the statewide summary of the availability of County Veteran Service Offices (CVSO), DAV, Minnesota VA, and other Veteran services across the state of Minnesota, with notes on how Veteran and families can receive services and how to contact each office.

Link to Updated CVSO’s, VA Services and other Military Members Support

 

Check out these resources and feel free to share with others:

Check out these resources and feel free to share with others:
Minnesota COVID-19 Updates: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
US Dept of Veterans Affairs: www.va.gov/
Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN 23): www.visn23.va.gov/

Area VA Medical Centers:
• Fargo VA Health Care System: www.fargo.va.gov/
• Minneapolis VA Health Care System: www.minneapolis.va.gov/
• St. Cloud VA Health Care System: www.stcloud.va.gov/
• Sioux Falls VA Health Care System: www.siouxfalls.va.gov/
VBA Regional Offices: • Fargo: www.benefits.va.gov/fargo/
• Sioux Falls: www.benefits.va.gov/siouxfalls/
• St. Paul: www.benefits.va.gov/stpaul

• Managing Stress and the Threat of COVID-19: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/ep/behavioral/stress_covid19.pdf
• COVID-19 and Healthcare Responder Stress: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/ep/behavioral/responder_covid19.pdf
• Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With COVID-19: https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources/fact-sheet/outbreak_factsheet_1.pdf

***Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-14 on Monday, March 23rd that halts evictions in Minnesota. The full text of the Order is not yet available but this notice will be updated as soon as further details are known. Until then, please direct clients to follow the directions below***

The Minnesota Judicial Branch has put in place some directives in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Of direct relevance to those working in homelessness prevention are the court’s restrictions impacting evictions and foreclosures. Additionally, HUD has issued guidance related to foreclosures and evictions for single family homes with FHA-backed mortgages. 

On Friday, March 20th, the Court issued new guidance on court proceedings, including evictions. This supersedes the previous March 13th order that had delayed most eviction filings for up to 14 days.

What types of eviction actions are impacted by this order? 

What should MACV Veterans do next?

If a Veteran has a court date scheduled prior to March 30th, advise them to contact the Court Administrator in the county of the case and ask if the court date has been postponed or canceled. They should call now and once a week until they get guidance from the court (we have spoken with some court admins who don’t have the answer yet). You can find a directory of Court Administration contacts online at: http://www.mncourts.gov/Emergency.aspx 

Many other legal cases are impacted by the Court’s March 16th order; for more information visit the court website at www.mncourts.gov or call the Vetlaw program at 1-651-200-4750.

HUD Guidance 

On March 18th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions on single family homes with FHA-backed mortgages. This applies to homeowners and not renters. The moratorium is currently set to last for 60 days. 

If this is just for homeowners, why does it mention evictions? In Minnesota, after a homeowner loses their property to foreclosure, they must be evicted to remove them from the property if they have not already left. 


 

 

We are grateful to the Leonard J. Mikulay Foundation for their contribution to building our newest transition home for Veterans in Bloomington, MN.

The LJM Foundation’s support and compassion to creating housing options in Minnesota has been critical to our success.

The Bloomington home will provide transitional housing for up to two years to Veterans and their families. Shelters may provide options for homeless veterans, but there are few options that allow the family of a homeless Veteran to stay together.

Read more about the new MACV Bloomington home.

We are continuing to provide services to Veterans needing support during COVID-19 closures and social distancing measures.

If you need assistance, we are open and our staff is available to support you.  Our physical offices are closed to the general public and for in-persons service, but our phones and email are staffed.

We ask that you call or email prior to coming to our offices or scheduled appointment.

Please call main line at 1-833-222-6228  (statewide) and we’ll put you in touch with a case manager in your region.  You can also email any question to us directly at mac-v@mac-v.org.

Our legal clinics will be cancelled for the next few weeks, and we will post new dates on our event calendar when can resume safely.

If you have legal questions, call our Vetlaw team at 1-651-200-4750 or you can email the legal team at vetlaw@mac-v.org.

On a limited basis, we will have staff at our offices to provide services to those Veterans without any other means of communication. Our offices in Mankato, Duluth, and St. Paul will be closed for walk-in traffic starting March 27th.

If you or a Veteran or military family you know is experiencing homelessness or may need housing assistance, share this information with your fellow service members.  Our MACV team is ready to help.

We are committed to staying connected with Veterans in every community across Minnesota.  It is important that we protect your health and the health of our personnel. Our entire staff will be available to assist virtually while we continue to comply with the mitigation strategies set by our state and federal leadership.

Serving ClientsAs we monitor the COVID-19 situation, our top priority is the safety of our employees, our Veteran clients, and community members while maintain a consistent level of client care.

MACV will continue serving Veterans but we are reducing our physical office coverage and in-person meetings consistent with the MN Department of Health and CDC’s new telework and social distancing measures.

We have staff assisting Veterans daily via phone, text, and email.  We understand that some Veterans experiencing homelessness may not have some of these resources.  We will be reducing our onsite staffing but will remain available to provide services to those Veterans without any other means of communication.  Hours of operation will be updated regularly on our social media, website, and through our partner agencies. Currently our offices in Mankato, Duluth, and St. Paul will closed to walk-in services starting March 27th.

We are committed to staying connected with Veterans in every community across Minnesota.  It is important that we protect your health and the health of our personnel. Our entire staff will be available to assist virtually while we continue to comply with the mitigation strategies set by our state and federal leadership.

Contact information for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV)

Main Line: 1-833-222-6228

Email: mac-v@mac-v.org

Vetlaw: 651-200-4750

Email Vetlaw: vetlaw@mac-v.org