Ingham County takes pledge to end veteran homelessness

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 07:47:21-04

Veteran Stanley Williams used to be homeless, but thanks to Lansing's Volunteers of America, he's back on his feet.

"I've never felt better in my life," says Williams.

During Williams' time at the VOA he was able to stay away from drugs and alcohol that troubled him before, and even worked his way to a bachelor's degree.

Now the VOA and other organizations are pledging to end veteran homelessness all together in Ingham county.

"One homeless veteran is one too many," says Kara Hope, an Ingham county commissioner in the 7th district.

The task starts with community leaders. Lansing mayor Virg Bernero spoke about getting people involved in community service, and asking people to work together. State representative Tom Cochran called for jobs to be created by small businesses and his role in getting money to groups like the VOA and veterans affairs from the state.

Then groups like the Michigan State Housing Development Authority are working to get state and federal funding to help create more housing for veterans across Michigan.

Rep. Tom Cochran says "I think that as a state, as a society, we owe that to the people who made the sacrifices."

But it isn't easy. There aren't enough beds for every homeless veteran in Ingham county and it can take time for proposals to get through the legislature and translate to money for more.

But success stories like Stanley Williams inspire leaders and groups to keep the fight against homelessness going.

"Once you get yourself together... you're like a new person," Williams says. "And it's the best feeling in the world."

Williams says for homeless veterans to feel the same way, they need to look no further than these programs.