Housing Michigan's Veterans

I want to thank the Michigan State Support Organization staff for providing me this opportunity to provide the blog post for the month of November, 2017. As Veteran Engagement Specialist for Habitat International in cooperation with the Michigan State Support Organization, I have had the opportunity to hear and collect stories of Michigan’s veterans. Often veterans share their story with me or sometimes a loved one shares it for them. Equally, those who do not have any connection to the military, share their gratitude and their interest in supporting the veterans of Michigan.

Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans. Considering how fortunate we are and the countless freedoms we enjoy, we reflect during this time on those who have served our nation faithfully and have returned to our communities.

Through Michigan’s Veteran Build Affiliates, we are leading the conversation by providing volunteer, homeownership, education, and employment opportunities to Michigan veterans, military service members and their families.

The number of homeless veterans in Michigan was recorded in the last census at 1,067. We aim to make Michigan the 4th State in the country to end Veteran Homelessness, alongside DelawareConnecticut, and VirginiaOne Michigan community has also earned the distinction of being a "Functional Zero" community, which means that the number of veterans experiencing homelessness is not greater than the average monthly housing placement rate for veterans.  

This is not some vision for the next century, but something that is achievable now. While many organizations can come together, I believe the cooperation of the Habitat Affiliate community, the veteran community, and the Michigan State Support Organization has the leading voice when it comes to addressing this issue. There is more work to be done and more conversations that need to be started in our communities and with your leadership in the community we can empower Michigan veterans to have what they protected and preserved for us: a chance for the pursuit of happiness.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s Veteran Build Initiative, please visit www.habitat.org/volunteer/near-you/veterans-build

Michael DeLaRosa

Veteran Engagement Specialist, Veterans Build