Charity for homeless veterans receives $40,000 grant for its housing mission
Getting homeless veterans into housing saves on expense of crisis care and law enforcement services
Wounded Warriors of Collier County has been awarded a $40,000 grant for its mission of supporting veterans in need of housing, mental health services and other support.
The grant is from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, which was created in 2004 by Best Buy founder Dick Schulze to give back to the communities where he and his family have lived, in Minnesota and now in Florida.
Wounded Warriors provides housing for homeless veterans with a mission to end veteran homelessness in the community.
The local organization was founded and became a nonprofit charity in 2014; it is not affiliated with the Wounded Warriors Project.
The Schulze foundation has been a longtime supporter of Wounded Warriors in making a significant impact on reducing homelessness among local veterans, Dale Mullin, founder and chief executive officer of the organization, said.
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The organization has opened and operates four homes over the last three years serving 33 veterans, both men and women, who previously were homeless.
“The age group of these veterans range from their 20s to 80s, and they have nobly served their country from Korea to Afghanistan,” Mullin said.
Grant helps as homelessness goes up after Hurricane Ian
The grant will help achieve the mission that “no veteran in need of help is left behind,” he said.
Wounded Warriors provides long-term supportive housing that follows the “housing first model” that the trajectory of a veteran’s life can be changed while reducing the financial impact on our community, Mullin said.
Homelessness is increasing in Collier County due to the impact of Hurricane Ian last September damaging or destroying many rental properties along with escalating rental costs that push at risk populations, including veterans, to the streets.
A point in time homeless survey in January found 703 homeless individuals this year, a 52% increase compared to last year’s finding of 462 individuals.
In terms of veterans, the results show 51 veterans were homeless in January compared to 22 last year
The survey findings are far from scientific with variables like weather and willingness among the homeless to answer questions anonymously coming into play. The data is sent to state and federal authorities for reporting requirements.
The housing first model that Wounded Warriors uses for veterans can reduce the financial impact to the community by up to 30% for crisis care, law enforcement and other costs, according to the organization.
Support from the Schulze foundation has helped Wounded Warriors serve a total of 128 local veterans to date.
The Schulze foundation said it is honored to support Wounded Warrios, Mary Beth Geier, Florida director of the Schulze foundation, said in a news release.
“It is important to support and house our veterans who have given so much for our freedom,” she said.