By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Helping end homelessness for Veterans in Minnesota. That is MACV’s mission. And it’s not just vets they’re helping; it’s their families, too.

Eric B. Williams is a single parent, and one of many veterans who turned to MACV at one of the darkest times in his life.

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For U.S. Army veteran Williams, sitting on the front stoop of the place he calls home with his 17-year-old son is what he’s dreamed about. He is thankful for this time knowing his life has not always been smiles and giggles.

“It’s been a little bit of a fight,” he said.

The fight to keep a roof over his family’s head was lost months ago when a fire forced renovations at his apartment, renovations that increased rent, pricing him out. Williams developed health issues and couldn’t work. With no work and no home he had no choice but to live in his vehicle.

He turned to MACV for help.

“Immediately upon contact with him, he got me into a hotel that was very sufficient, supplied meals and everything for us,” Williams said.

Williams found a lifeline in MACV’s hotel program that allows veterans a place to stay until transitional housing is found.

“Eric, from day when I first talked to him, he just explained what his need was. We went over a housing plan and he stuck to it,” MACV’s James McCloden said.

McCloden says Williams was a go-getter. He did everything right, not just for himself but for his son.

“Not being a small child but again being a teenager and them having desires and wants to do different things … but again it’s been a fight, it’s been a fight. But we’ve been very blessed and very thankful for MACV’s help,” Williams said.

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Within six months, Williams and his son were placed in transitional housing.

“They got me out of the hotel situation and placed me here, and I have now been blessed to receive a housing voucher that I am currently looking for a two bedroom unit for myself and my son,” Williams said.

The love and admiration Williams’ son has for his father has grown during this time of uncertainty in their lives.

“He never gives up no matter what happens to him he has the drive to keep going,” Isaiah Williams said.

And keep going they will, with the help of MACV. This family says it is forever grateful.

“Getting me out of the homeless situation of sleeping in my vehicle, having somewhere stable for my son to do schoolwork and attend school on a regular basis, internet accessibility, things I couldn’t or wouldn’t have just living in my car,” Eric B. Williams said.

Now this single father and his son can make plans for their future.

“He’s transitioning well, B student, senior in high school, looking at Augsburg College to continue his education, so everything is moving along,” Eric B. Williams said.

It’s a future that wouldn’t be what it is without the donations that allow MACV to keep doing what they do.

“We need you, flat out. There are veterans like myself and worse than myself that need you. We need every last one of you to donate and contribute. If it’s nothing but time, not everyone has money to give,” Eric B. Williams said.

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If you’d like to help veterans, you can make a donation to MACV. Just $20 will help provide food for a veteran or money for gas, and $35 provides housing support for one day. Click here for more information.

Reg Chapman