MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO is teaming up with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans as part of our Home for the Holidays campaign.  Last year, MACV helped more than 5,000 veterans who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

A majority of people working for MACV know the impact they can make, because they too were once a client there, including one former Marine who’s now using his experience with MACV to help his fellow vets.

They are on the front line in the fight to end Veteran homelessness. A group of MACV case managers meets daily to compare notes and to make sure they are doing all they can to reach ceterans in need.

They work with community partners, visiting places where the homeless hang out and area homeless shelters in search of people who have served in the military.

The leader of this group of case workers, housing and employment specialist is Nate Martineau, a former Marine and MACV client.

“Five or six years ago I hit a really tough spot in my life. I was in between jobs dealing with a real difficult personal hardship,” he said.

Martineau needed help avoiding becoming homeless so he reached out to his county veteran service officer. That’s when he learned about MACV.

“I made a phone call to MACV, I came in and saw my case manager and within one week they had provided me with immediate assistance additional resources that got me back on track,” he said.

Martineau says remembering the experience he had with MACV and the impact they made in his life prompted him to call MACV a second time.

“(I) let them know I was a veteran, a former client, and I’m looking for a career change and wondering if there were any opportunities within MACV, because I would really love to work for the organization that helped me,” he said.

Martineau’s eight years in the Marines working as a as a recruiter and 19 years as a corporate recruiter prepared him for this next journey, recruiting homeless veterans to leave the streets and find a home.

“They have the will, they have the want. They just need someone to help them pick up pieces put them back together so they can get back on track in life,” he said. “The really cool thing is we can serve just about anybody who has served. Whether its federal active duty, National Guard or reservist, we have funding so nobody gets left out.”

Every dollar donated to MACV goes direclty to help veterans in need. Click here to learn more about how you can help.

Reg Chapman

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