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Event organizers work to help homeless veterans

Work continues to eradicate veteran homelessness.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Kent County has made great strides in reducing veteran homelessness. But, there are still dozens of veterans still struggling to find an affordable place to live. Community Rebuilders, a local non-profit, is continuing its work to house every homeless vet.

"For the past 25 years we've been working to ensure that every person has a place to call home. Veterans have a really special place in our hearts and we want to make sure every Kent County veteran has access to safe and affordable housing," says Jeffrey King, the director of of Advancement and Communications." So, this Saturday with the support of the American Legion Post 208, we are hosting an event called "Homes for Heroes."

King says the goal of the event is to raise awareness and money to help ensure they can house every veteran that comes into their system.

"Kent County has made incredible progress ending veteran homelessness," says King. "In 2017 we became the 54th community across the country to effectively end veteran homelessness."

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - With temperatures dropping outside, there is a push to get homeless veterans off the streets. The first ever "Kent County Veteran Homeless Connect" event is taking place Friday, Nov. 9. This is the first of this particular event, but not the beginning of the effort to help homeless vets here West Michigan.

However, King says there is still more work to do.

"Ending veteran homelessness means we are able to quickly place veterans and their families in housing and it is non-recurring. But, in order to support those continued efforts it really is going to take a community effort coalescing around the idea that housing is what ends homelessness," he said.

Destry Powers, the project coordinator for Veteran Services, who is also a veteran says "for about $3,000 we are able to secure safe and affordable housing and purchase beds with the help of community partnerships."

Organizers of this event say Kent County veterans may have access to several types of support services, however, access to housing is not always funded.

"And, what veterans tell us when they come to us and are experiencing a housing crisis is what they want first and foremost is a safe place for them and their families," says King.

Powers agrees.

"Everyone struggles and veterans have their own set of struggles and to be able to be a part of this and help them out has been great for me and I look forward to seeing everyone come out this Saturday and help us out." he said.

 Operation Homes for Heroes is happening Saturday, Sept. 28 from 4 until 9 p.m. at the American Legion Post 208. That is located at 133 44th Street SW in Kentwood. There will be live entertainment, a comedy show, cash bar and more. 

Organizers say it is a great way to have fun and help make sure every local vet has a safe place to call home.

Credit: Community Rebuilders

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