GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Connecting with Community Awards finalist for this week seeks to combat an often hidden issue: veteran homelessness.
Community Rebuilders works with veterans to help find them affordable, sustainable, and safe housing in Kent County. The non-profit, started in 1993, wants to provide hope to those veterans that are struggling to find a place they can call their own. The organization works on a fast-track timeline, matching veterans with case managers so that they can come out of their housing crisis as quickly as possible. Along with the Salvation Army Housing Assessment Program and VA HealthCare for Homeless Vets, Community Rebuilders has been able to house over three hundred veterans and their family members in 2016 alone.
“In this partnership, we’ve been able to help with outreach staff to go out with teams to find those folks that are having this experience, and then connect them with resources,” said Christina Soulard, Housing Services Director, The Salvation Army Social Services
Community Rebuilders has properties around Grand Rapids that they use to house veterans short term. The living spaces offer veterans a way to get off the streets, but also to stay out of shelters, while also provide them a bit more privacy.
What the partnership has found is that reaching out to veterans and then connecting them with places they can go often offers them the chance to get back on their feet. Community Rebuilders wants to guide them through the process, but also focus on making real connections with each individual.
One such veteran that the non-profit has been able to help is David Lee Rider. After an accident in the military left him unable to be deployed, he was sent back home to recover. However, his injuries started to prevent him from working in construction, and he soon found himself without an income or a place to stay. Through Community Rebuilders, he was set up with an apartment close to downtown and the medical offices he frequents.
“They took into consideration my injury, my comfort with this apartment, and just it’s overall convenience,” said David, “Without Community Rebuilders, I’d probably have died of pneumonia or frozen to death.”
“These veterans have served our country and so by having the community/this partnership come together to give back…I think it’s just a way to honor them,” Christina Soulard said.
You can learn more about Community Rebuilders on their site.
Keep watching every Friday at 5pm for more Connecting with Community finalists. You won’t want to miss our last two partnerships!