The local Oklahoma City branch of the Exchange Club is partnering with Vets Matters, a military veterans group, to help end one of the leading problems facing former American service members; homelessness. The groups will be hosting an event at the Del City American Legion Post 73.
“Not only do we want to thank you, but we want to make a difference,” said event organizer Kacey-Jo Hyde. “We want to give back to those that gave all their sacrifices to us to bring us to where we are today.”
The goal of the event is to raise $750 dollars to give to a single veteran or a veteran’s family to help pay for the security deposit and first month’s rent. The fundraiser is already underway online, as of Wednesday afternoon; the organizations were still $99 short of their goal.
“Tonight's event is about Oklahoma City, it's about the community and everything stays local. We really want to get everybody motivated to come out and see what we've got going on.”
On average, one in four homeless people are veterans nationwide and in Oklahoma City that population is even higher. Nearly 20 percent of the homeless population within the city is Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, a considerably smaller population of the total number of veterans.
“They can't get jobs. So there's this missing component that they needed.”
The money raised will be given to the OKC Veterans Affairs offices which will then be given to a veteran in need through the agency’s HUD-VASH program for housing assistance. This is the first year the groups have partnered and they expect up to 100 people to attend. Walker hopes it’s the start of more events to come so they can give a veteran returning to the home-front a home to which they can return.
“You're giving back someone their dignity. Your home is your respect of one's self. It gives them a second opportunity.”
The event kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Del City American Legion, find details to the event here.