MINNEAPOLIS -- This holiday season, too many veterans have no place to call home, but the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is on a mission to change that. WCCO's Reg Chapman shares how MACV finally got one of the longest-running veterans off the homeless registry.
Army Veteran John Anderson loves sitting in his own space and re-telling stories of his time serving in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.
"Between the front lines and the main support, we were in the middle of the units we were there to support," Anderson said.
Ever since, It has been a long, rough road for Anderson. He credits MACV for getting him this far. John says outreach worker Amanda Hooper made a connection with him.
"When I met John, he was super discouraged. He had tried a couple of things and basically had hit a couple of walls over and over again and was ready to be involved in this process and wanted to move forward," Hooper said.
Anderson went through a divorce, and when support from family wore thin he was without a place to call home.
"You kind of lose your tack of, you know, like you are doing this and then that happens, and now you got to do this. But it's like, O.K., making that transition was kind of rough, hard," Anderson said.
"When you sit across from someone who is struggling and you say, 'I am also a vet, I know what you are going through. I understand, let's try and take the next step,'" Hooper said.
Hooper connected Anderson with the Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul, where he saw the work MACV was doing and learned to trust outreach workers.
Now, after four years on the Minnesota Veteran Registry, John finally has a home.
"One-thousand six-hundred-forty days on the homeless veteran registry -- longest-running veteran who had been on there," Hooper said.
Anderson says he spent so much time on the homeless registry because he just wasn't ready to accept help. Now he is ready for what's next.
MACV outreach workers meet veterans where they are, and it's working. They've seen a 30% drop in re-engagements or recurring homelessness.
This holiday season, we are proud to partner with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) for WCCO's Home for the Holidays. Our goal is to bring awareness and support to veteran homelessness in our community. Click here for more information.
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