Michelle Obama announced this week an initiative to end veteran homelessness by 2015. That is a big hairy audacious goal (and we're okay with that!). You can see a clip of her remarks to a White House audience of veterans, mayors and others working on this cause.
"When a veteran comes home kissing the ground, it is unacceptable that he should have to sleep on it," she said.
Yet that is exactly what Doran Hocker, a former tenant at Lydia Apartments, did when he returned stateside after serving in the Air Force during the Korean War. He was so grateful to be home -- but then his life spiraled downward as divorce, addiction and homelessness took their toll. He described in our video from last fall's luncheon how living at Lydia helped him to reclaim his life and become the man he wants to be once more. He now counsels other veterans and helps them to avoid homelessness at the Minnesota Veterans Assistance Council, and he's reconciled with his children and is there for his grandchildren.
The First Lady was calling upon mayors and governors as well the public to challenge one another to ensure that those who served our country have a home - including individuals and "businesses and congregations and community organizations."
"This problem isn't too big for us to tackle," she said. "We all have power to make a real difference on this issue."
At Beacon we have seen that our collective power in action, in our collaborative's successful work to build housing, help secure state bonding funds to end homelessness and shelter families every single night of the year. We are humbled and grateful for all who are involved -- and we challenge you to stay with us as we continue to do this work in our community.