The number of veterans living on the streets in metro Atlanta continues to be a concern. But one organization is taking a holistic approach and slowly chipping away at the problem.
“Since I came back people don’t always do for veterans what they should do,” said Marine Corps Vet Sheridann Lawrence.
Lawrence served from the 70's to mid-90's and after years of dealing with PTSD and other personal problems he found himself on the street.
“Once they got wind of me being homeless being a veteran they brought me right in,” added Lawrence.
They are VEO, the Veterans Empowerment Organization.
“We’ve been able to have a better than 80 percent reaching a veteran on the street and bringing them back to self-sufficiency,” said VEO representative Tyler Bowser.
The nonprofit provides temporary and permanent housing for more than 140 veterans. As well as what they call 360 degrees of services which include case management, life skills training, counseling, and follow up.
And, because VEO privately funded they said they have the flexibility to target their services to each vets.
“When this program first started in 2008 there were approximately 2 to 3 thousand homeless vets in the Atlanta area at the last point in time couldn’t which was 2018 there was a reduction to about 460 homeless veterans, added Bowser.
So far VEO has helped more than 5000 veterans like Lawrence get their lives back on track.
“If it were not for VEO, a lot of us would be out wondering around so when says they’re an oasis in the desert, if you want some solid ground on your feet this is a good place to be.”
While being privately funded has allowed VEO flexibility in who and how the serve, it has created a funding challenge.
This weekend the organization will host its annual fundraiser gala. Tickets are still available for the event at https://www.veohero.org/.