Students at Catholic Memorial High School, an all boys school in West Roxbury, Massachusetts worked with both Lazarus Ministry and Lawlar and Crosby Funeral Home to put together a funeral and mass service for a homeless Army veteran. The students learned the veteran would go through the burial process with no family present as he, the veteran that they merely knew as John had no family left living in his life. They wanted to honor him as a thank you for all the sacrifices he had made for them, for the country by giving him the gift of family. So in early November of 2017, the students gathered to attend his funeral and a mass service was done by Catholic Memorial and Reverend Chris Palladino gave an eulogy.
Catholic Memorial High School President, Dr. Peter Folan went on to say that doing this allowed the boys attending Catholic Memorial to see, first hand, that they themselves can make a difference. That standing with or for “those that are marginalized” is important.
Most of the students did not know of John or any pieces of his story before his death, but the seniors who helped to carry his casket admit they learned a lot in the days following his death. He may not have had any blood family when he passed away, but he sure left behind a lot of love at Catholic Memorial High School.
The number of homeless veterans in the United States has increased drastically since 2010. One person in New York decided that he was going to do something about the homeless problem. He knew that unemployment was one of the main reasons that people are homeless. That is why he decided to start Sense of Self Project. It provides jobs for veterans who are living in a shelter. The veterans make t-shirts.
Daniel McKinney is a veteran who has served in the United States Gulf War. He has been dealt with homelessness for the past 17 years. Daniel stated that he has faced many challenges since he came home. However, working for Sense of Self Project gives him a sense of pride that he has lost.
Aaron Seaney is the founder of Sense of Self Project. He started the organization because he felt that veteran homelessness was being swept under the rug. Lewis Kaiser is another veteran who works for Sense of Self Project. He was unemployed for five years before he worked for Sense of Self Project.
People will get t-shirts every month in exchange for a monthly subscription. Sixty percent of the profit goes towards paying the homeless veterans. The money that is left over goes towards supplies. Aaron stated that Sense of Self Project is about more than just t-shirts. It is about helping people become productive members of society again.
For United States veterans who have fallen on hard times, getting some help from fellow veterans can bring about an extremely powerful feeling. For an Air Force veteran named Randy Levelle in Tampa, getting into an apartment after years of living out in the streets felt like having a clean and pressed uniform back on.
According to a news report published by Tampa television news station WTSP, the Tampa Crossroads charity is determined to get all homeless veterans off the streets, and this is something that starts by working with landlords at the community level. Like many burgeoning metropolitan areas of the country, affordable housing has become very scarce in the Tampa Bay region; this is a socioeconomic factor that interferes with charitable missions such as the ones pursued by Tampa Crossroads.
One of the strategies practiced by Tampa Crossroads is to enlist the help of landlords who may be declining homeless veterans from getting leases due to their backgrounds. Many landlords do not even realize that the applicants they deny could be veterans, and this is an issue that emanates from using third-party vetting services. For example, a potential tenant may be turned down because of an arrest on her record, but the landlord may not realize that there was never a conviction or that the applicant is a veteran. Tampa Crossroads sets the record straight and tries to get a discount on behalf of veterans.
The primary mission of Tampa Crossroads is to get housing for homeless veterans because it is easier to work with them on other issues once they are off the streets. Counseling, education and employment assistance follow once veterans are placed in stable homes.
Getting identification documents and transportation to VA medical centers is also important. The charity tries to negotiate discounted gas cards or public transport vouchers; in other words, they assist veterans with the basics they require to be able to stay in their homes. Many Tampa Crossroads employees are veterans or come from military families.
Community organizers in Kansas City are doing everything in their power to develop a small neighborhood of cozy houses for homeless veterans, but their project is moving slower than expected. Instead of sitting around waiting for something to happen, however, they decided to open a new outreach center for veterans, and they managed to do it in just a couple of months.
According to a late March news report published by the Kansas City Star, the opening of the Kansas City Veterans Outreach Center, which is located next to the subdivision to be developed for the benefit of homeless veterans, was created because volunteers do not like sitting around and waiting for lawmakers and regulators to do their jobs. Leaders of the Veterans Community Project realize that they are moving too quickly and too aggressively for politicians and government agencies, but they do not want to stop at this point.
The immediate services that the Veterans Outreach Center will provide will include: legal consultation, job search assistance, computer proficiency training, bus passes, and access to a food pantry.
A local non-profit dedicated to finding solutions for homeless people in Kansas City also thinks that the Veterans Community Project is moving too fast with its lofty goals. The non-profit in question is reStart Inc., which is part of a citywide coalition to help the homeless. Thus far, the veterans who plan to build the small residence for their homeless comrades have not shown too much interest in joining coalitions; they mostly want to get the job done because they believe they can pull it off in record time.
The Veterans Outreach Center is an example of what this group is capable of, and there is an important reason for their “lone wolf” approach: they actually help veterans who have been dishonorably discharged or whose service was limited to reserve duty. In recent years, the United States Veterans Administration has mostly focused on helping those who have served active duty tours during wartime, and thus reservists and others may not get the assistance they need.
For the time being the Veterans Village project is awaiting the installation of sewer lines.