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When we think about homelessness in Minnesota we often picture the men (and sometimes women) we pass at interstate off ramps or busy urban intersections, holding a sign that says “homeless veteran,” or “lost my job, need help.” We’d like to help them but you wonder if there isn’t a better way.
You don’t really want to encourage panhandling. You think maybe they’ll use the money you give them to buy a bottle instead of feed their kids. Unfortunately, these panhandlers have become the face of homelessness in Minnesota.
Recognizing the need to address the issue of homelessness in the Twin Cities, the BATC Foundation became an affiliate chapter of HomeAid America (www. homeaid.org) last April. Since then, I have been meeting with area service providers who work with the homeless to learn about their services and how the Foundation can best respond. Through that process we have identified a handful of local agencies who work with the homeless and who are in need of help.
In 2016, one of our first HomeAid projects will be to work with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV). In partnership with Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, the BATC Foundation will be working to rehab a home for veteran families in need of transitional housing. We are in the process of identifying a suitable property and hope to begin this project in the spring.
Unlike Minnesota, when I was in Las Vegas in mid-January to attend IBS, I was amazed at how visible homelessness is there. It is not unusual to see people “camped” in sleeping bags on the busiest of streets along the strip. Because of our climate, homelessness is hidden here – especially in the winter. It’s easy to ignore.
Your BATC Foundation is taking steps to help address this issue, but we’ll need your help. If you would like to make a donation of material or labor or be considered as the Build Partner for this or other 2016 projects, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-697- 7563. I’ll be happy to provide you with information about the requirements and benefits of being a Build Partner.