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$2 million in state grants to help homeless veterans

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) is distributing $2 million in state grants to 13 nonprofit organizations that support homeless veterans and their families across Michigan.

The grants, of about $150,000 each, will be used for a variety of initiatives intended to assist homeless veterans. These efforts include creating homes out of shipping containers in Wayne County, renovating a 19-room homeless shelter in Flint and creating a four-unit transitional housing complex in the Upper Peninsula.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state Legislature allocated $2 million to veteran homelessness prevention for fiscal year 2024. The governor has proposed another $1.5 million for veteran homelessness prevention in her FY25 budget.

“Michiganders who served our state and nation in uniform deserve our respect and our support,” Whitmer said. “With these grants, we are facing veterans’ homelessness head-on across Michigan. From renovating a shelter in Flint to creating a transitional housing complex in the U.P., we are taking action to ensure those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe have the support they need to thrive. This is a bipartisan priority so let’s keep funding it in our next balanced budget.”

A recent report from the MVAA on the state of veteran homelessness says there is an “urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address the challenges faced by our veteran population.” According to the Homeless Management Information System, there were 1,657 homeless veterans in Michigan in 2023, although that figure represents only those veterans who received services. The actual number of homeless veterans is likely much higher.

“Many factors can lead a veteran to become homeless, including mental health issues stemming from PTSD, addiction and a difficult transition to civilian life,” said MVAA Director Brian L. Love. “To prevent veteran homelessness, it’s critically important to connect veterans to the resources they need to thrive, whether that’s health care, emergency assistance, education benefits or help finding and keeping a good job,” Love said.

Here is more information on the FY24 grant recipients and how they will use the grant funding:

  • 2Marines will fund phase 2 of its shipping container home initiative in Wayne County. Shipping homes are a cost-efficient and innovative approach of repurposing shipping containers into homes. Grant funding will also go toward five rental homes Washtenaw County that are tailored to the needs of veterans for transitional housing, job readiness and family support.
  • Center for Higher Educational Achievement in Flint will fund the Homes for Heroes housing program, which offers stable housing and wraparound services such as mental health resources, employment assistance and legal counseling. Grant funding will be used for home renovations.
  • Chelsea Hospital will use the grant for its RAVEL program, or Resources for Assisting Veterans-Emergency and Long-term, which aims to expand social services to veterans and their families.
  • The Community Action Agency, which serves Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties, will provide immediate relief, support services and emergency shelter in the form of hotel rooms for homeless veterans.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Lapeer-Tuscola will renovate a home for one veteran family.
  • Homes for Heroic Forgotten Veterans will buy an apartment building in Warren and make renovations to address the housing and supportive service needs for female veterans and their families.
  • Lenawee Emergency and Affordable Housing Corp. will renovate its eight-room Reconnecting Home, a peer-run program for veterans in need of temporary housing.
  • My Brother’s Keeper of Genessee County will open the Rolling Hills Veterans Facility in Atlas Township, which will provide transitional housing for up to 10 homeless veterans.
  • Peckham Vocational Industries Inc. will fund various support services to prevent veteran homelessness, including emergency shelter, food cards, security deposits, mortgage and rent payments.
  • Project Brotherhood Resolve will use the grant for a down payment on a transitional home in Lapeer, as well as closing costs, updates to the home and four months of mortgage payments on the home. Remaining funds will provide veterans with mortgage or rent assistance.
  • Renewed Communities will buy and renovate a residence in Battle Creek to house veterans and their families, and then work with them to remove barriers to create optimal well-being and self-sufficiency.
  • Soldier Salvation will establish a four-unit veteran transitional complex for Houghton and Keweenaw counties in the U.P. The grant will fund six phases of the project, including deed recording, ownership transfer, electrical upgrades, building upgrades, appliances, etc.
  • Zero Day will launch a veteran family empowerment housing initiative to provide immediate relief, sustainable housing and support services. Grant funding will buy a home in Battle Creek and materials such as siding, roofing, carpet and appliances. Veterans will be hired to renovate, upgrade and maintain the property.