Community Organizations Pledge Against Veteran Homelessness in Northern Michigan

“Without the collaboration you really can’t move from the point of homeless to stably housed,” says Keven Venhuizen.

Many community organizations want to lend a helping hand to homeless veterans in Northern Michigan.

The Northwest Continuum of Care offered local organizations the opportunity to pledge their support for ending veteran homelessness Wednesday afternoon.

9 and 10’s Megan Atwood and photojournalist John Harrington found out why they’re taking a team approach.

“Our greatest barrier is actually finding the affordable housing. There is such a need for affordable housing. There are only a few communities where we can still easily find affordable housing, the rest we are lucky to find a place every couple of weeks,” says Cheri Garvin, housing locator for the Northwest Continuum of Care.

The Northwest Continuum of Care is a group of organizations working to end homelessness in Northern Michigan. And today, many pledged support, from Missaukee to Emmett County.

And for some in this group, ending veteran homelessness is a topic close to the heart.

“I’ve been able to relate it to my experience. When we run into a veteran who may be a little hesitant about taking the financials, maybe they are feeling like they don’t need it or someone is worse off than they are,” says Keven Venhuizen.

Keven Venhuizen works as a veterans housing resource specialist, but also served in the army. He says being able to relate to veterans can help them in the end.

Venhuizen goes on, “We were most successful in the military when we worked with a group. When we had a squad or platoon, that’s when we were most effective. So the partnerships that we have are just like that support team we used to have in service.”

Each organization left Wednesday night’s gathering with a card pledging to rally community support against homelessness for veterans.