MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans couldn’t do the work it does to help end veteran homelessness without its community partners. Landlords who offer their units in partnership with MACV are on the front lines in the fight to find stable housing for unsheltered veterans.
As we continue our Home for the Holidays campaign, WCCO’s Reg Chapman takes a look at how landlords are giving veterans the opportunity to thrive.READ MORE: Ruff Start Rescue
U.S. Army veteran Paul Fritsche is living his dream. His job in security is a bright spot in a long journey that began during one of the coldest months of the year.
“This is a job I’ve always wanted but I’ve never gotten,” he said. “At the end of February, I was made homeless with an impending divorce.”
The 37-year-old served in Iraq from 2002 to 2004. Not knowing where to turn to for help, he heard about MACV. Paul says MACV’s James McCloden helped him get into transitional housing in Maplewood.
“About four days after being homeless, I walked into MACV and sat down and met with James,” Fritsche said. “I was actually really surprised that MACV was able to help me as quickly as they did. I was worried about couch surfing, living on the streets. I’ve done it before but I’m a bit older now so I don’t know if I would have made it and had it not been for MACV helping me out. I don’t know where I would be today.”
He knew that with a stable place to stay he would be able to find a job and move on the the next phase of his life.
“With the help of the MACV they gave me all the resources I needed to get in touch with HUD-VASH and get in the voucher program, which is Section 8 for veterans, and within six months I was in my own place,” he said.Survey Shows Two-Thirds Of Americans Are Ready For Drones To Deliver Takeout
MACV’s Jon Lovalt says when veterans find that permanent place to call home, they thrive.
“A place to live is the ultimate donation. And it’s not a donation, it’s just asking to be involved in the process in renting your unit to a veteran,” Lovalt said. “We need housing, we need units, we need individuals who are willing to say that I want to assist in this mission and ending veterans homelessness.”
Rich Holst is one landlord who answered that call. Four veterans live in his units in St. Paul, including Fritsche.
“MACV has wraparound services for the tenants, so really we work as a team to make sure that out tenant is getting everything that is absolutely necessary to them,” Holst said.
Fritsche says he is grateful for all MACV has done for him.
“I have a lot of trouble with my anxiety and PTSD issues, and when I became homeless they got worse because I had no idea what the future held, and as soon as MACV stepped in I seen a light at the end of that tunnel,” he said.
With the proper support and medication, he’s ready for the next chapter in his life. He hopes others see his story and partner with MACV to help other veterans waiting for their chance at a better life.
“I am a success story of them taking those funds and and turning around and helping me get back on my feet in such a short period of time,” he said. “I have plans hopefully in the next 15 to 20 years be able to retire and consult in security.”
MACV does depend on donations to be able to continue the work they do. Any amount you can give will certainly make a difference, especially right now. All donations are being matched by an anonymous foundation up to $100,000. Text MACVORG to 44321 or give online here.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: Feds To Convert Several Testing Sites To Provide Antiviral Treatment