2019 was the first time #TheInitiativeUSA has participated in a formal homeless count survey. The survey, mandated by HUD (Housing & Urban Development) & administered by One Roof of Birmingham, operates similar to the U.S. Census with a strict focus on America’s homeless population. Typical, this survey is performed on the coldest night of the year by local community homeless advocacy programs & resources.
Homeless Veterans Initiative was tasked with attempting to cover rural areas of St.Clair, Jefferson & Shelby counties in the Greater Birmingham area; approximately 36 hours of volunteer hours & over 600 travel miles recorded with 3 official rural homeless counted in Trafford & Pell City, Alabama. Many more reports of rural homelessness were taken from several areas of north rural Jefferson & west rural St. Clair, mostly transient homeless.
hVIA-19 Year in Review
This year, HVIA had the opportunity to ring in our new year with friends of The Initiative - USA with Ben Mosely highlighting everything that our special organization had been able to accomplish during our 2nd official year of service as a 501-c-3 non-profit veteran service organization. We went #live on Facebook at Beef O’Brady’s in Helena, Alabama speaking to friends & guests of The Initiative - USA. We covered topics such as events, fundraising efforts, volunteers, Bug Run, state of our programs, etc.
Special thanks goes out to all of our DEDICATED & WONDERFUL community partners & volunteers.
holiday smiles for vets
Holiday Smiles For Vets is an annual event (October-February)& the very first benefit drive developed by the Homeless Veterans Initiative of Alabama. Our goal is to collect quality new & lightly used holiday gifts, monetary donations, toiletries, food, & clothing.
We donate these items to local homeless veteran transient & temporary housing facilities in order to bring some joy to the veterans we serve, as well as continue part of our operational mission: Homeless Veteran Resource Allocation & Supplemental Fundraising for VSO's.
In our first year, The Initiative - USA was able to donate nearly 1800 pounds of goods & $1000 to a local Birmingham veteran organization, Three Hots & A Cot. The Initiative - USA followed up with a very successful second season, donating over $12,000 worth of media devices to our Three Hots family.
We continued our goods drive, assisting over 50 homeless veterans in Alabama during the holiday season with food, clothing, foul-weather gear, transportation, monetary funding, late bills, etc.
Homeless Veterans Initiative would closeout our holiday season by transporting nearly 1000 lbs. of holiday items to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida in coordination with American Airlines & Our American Duty, providing these items to Gold Star Families living at the Bob Hope veterans & enlisted campus.
Veteran Service project
Homeless Veterans Initiative - USA / Homeless Veterans Initiative of Alabama will receive requests for assistance from time to time regarding veterans or caregivers in need of assistance, as well as incidents in which communities are experiencing crisis from natural disaster. Preemptive intervention and quick response time are keys in minimizing & reducing veteran hardship. The ability to be anticipatory and proactive to veteran needs is important.
The Initiative - USA has assisted in home building projects & improvements, regional natural disaster response, at-risk & homeless veteran crisis outreach, etc; most recently coordinating with Alabama Veteran during hurricane Michael on the South Carolina coast, and local Walker county residents with property upkeep, repairs and late-bill assistance.
bUG rUN rIDE
Bug Run Ride is our annual motorcycle ride where we partner with another amazing organization, the Iron Coffins MC of Walker County to raise awareness for our community & operational mission. In our first year, #BugRunRide2017 had over 300 visitors, approximately 170 riders participated, & nearly $5000 in monetary donations as well as approximately $20,000 in in-kind door prizes, support & services were raised in less than 70 days!
Special thanks goes out to SLEDGE, ICMC WaCo, Walker county & area communities for all your help.
#BugRunRide2018 was a grand success! The Initiative - USA started fundraising and planning efforts in April 2018 for our signature event in October. Surrounding communities & businesses applied some amazing support, allowing our organization tumor than double our previous year. Despite the weather, Homeless Veterans Initiative, Iron Coffins WaCo, Blue Truck band & our guests were able to complete a fundraising season collecting nearly $10,000 in monetary & an estimated $35,000 in in-kind door prizes, support & services.
Special thanks goes out to Shadescrest Rehabilitation with an emphasis on the efforts of Jen, Gweny & staff; SYLIC-WaCo/Central/West Alabama; Joey & Blue Truck; Taqueria Mexico; HHH Sanitation; volunteers, staff & family.
Let’s get ready for #BugRunRide2019, coming late summer!
sEC BULLY BBQ
If there is one thing we know, the bully breed and homeless veterans get a bad rep sometimes. So, to strengthen the awareness for our causes in our communities, Z-Bully’s, The Initiative & Rogue brand came together to host SEC Bully BBQ; a free and open event for fellowship, fun, bully breeds and hotdogs. We hosted the event in an impoverished Birmingham neighborhood known for its’ homeless population in order to raise exposure of services the our organization provides and allowing us to perform on-site case management.
Special thanks goes out to Alex @ Z-Bullys, Woodlawn, Birmingham community, Rogue brand supplements.
FLOWERS FOR EVERY GRAVE
We partnered with Rally Point & the Alabama National Cemetery on this project, prepping 15,000 roses in 2 days for a Memorial Day event! Even in the pouring rain, families and friends had the opportunity to place a single rose at the headstone of a loved one.