MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just in time for Veteran’s Day Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Veteran’s Affairs is launching a new initiative called “Keys for Heroes.”

It’s designed to strengthen the partnership with private market property owners and landlords who want to be part of the effort to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year.

Eric Grumdahl is a special advisor on ending veteran homelessness.

“The primary ingredient that we need is a landlord to say yes,” Grumdahl said.

He said they are holding an event on Veteran’s Day, where there will be veterans on hand to share their experiences with being homeless, and with finally getting a place to live.

He said they have invited landlords to attend and the Mayors of both Minneapolis and St Paul will be on hand as well to endorse the effort.

It’s not easy finding housing for homeless vets.

“They might have had a criminal history at some point, or an eviction, making it hard for landlords to rent to them,” he said.

He said they have a program called the Supportive Services for Veterans Families, which helps vets maintain their housing.

“What we find is the critical ingredient is to be able to find the housing solution which in this market is especially difficult because these are the individuals that tend to get screened out,” he said.

He said they have 146 homeless vets they are working with to find homes.

“For 95 of those we have a very clear plan for those individuals to obtain housing,” he said.

While they have funds, and a plan, there is a shortage of rental units in the area.

They hope to end all veteran homelessness by the end of the year, and there are still about 50 vets they have not yet been able to reach.

Landlords are invited to attend the event. You can learn more here.

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