Welcome to 2019!

Hi Everyone!

We hope you’ve had a wonderful 2018 and are looking forward to the new year! Homeless Veterans Initiative of Alabama / Homeless Veterans Initiative - USA is very excited about 2019 and can’t wait to share some information about the amazing things that are happening with the organization.

Homeless Veterans Initiative had a very successful year & our growth was amazing. We were able to attend dozens of veteran & military related programs and held several of our own, traveling an estimated 30,000+ miles. The Initiative doubled the amount of in-kind & monetary donations between 2017-2018. Scooter The Initiative USA ZJ (our mobile office) made his way onto the scene to support our advocacy, outreach & case management efforts. The organization was appointed to serve on 3 separate central Alabama advisory councils for veteran & homeless veteran welfare.

Homeless Veterans Initiative participated in One Roof Birmingham’s Point-in-Time Survey, conducting rural & suburban surveys and accounting for 3 registered homeless during the count. Our November Veteran Service Project was a wet one, but rewarding! Members of a disabled veteran family and volunteers of the organization came together to do a few hours of cleaning & assistance. SEC Bully BBQ saw bully breeds & homeless vets come together for a free dog show with awards and awareness of this amazing breed and the amazing value in veterans out of homelessness and the equity that they possess.

#BugRunRide2018 was a huge success and we’d like to thank everyone who was a part of the event and please be on the look-out for updates for next years’ ride! Thanks, ICMC Waco, Shadescrest Rehabilitation with Jen & Co. & several others! ‘Go’ Bags for Vets was launched with an emphasis of collecting new & lightly used goods for needy veterans by employing locals churches & schools to administer their program. Currently, the organization is working with a group in Leadership Walker County to implement the first program into Maddox school in Jasper, Alabama. Thanks, Amber!

The Initiative - USA received over 430 calls & requests for veteran/civilian assistance. Ultimately, we were able to fulfill the requests for 50 individuals & their families, as well as appropriate an estimated $60,000 in services, resources & assistance. #HolidaySmilesforVets was able to yield an additional $40,000 of in-kind support for disabled veterans with dependents. We also started a simple sticker & hat campaign to raise awareness of our outreach while attempting to utilize durable resources in the process. HVIA also participated in hurricane Michael disaster relief in South Carolina.

Do you have an idea? Run it by us! If you’d like to be an Initiative Ambassador & start Initiative events or for peer-to-peer opportunities in your area, please let us know! This is The Initiative, so dive in and let’s get our hands dirty!

Of course, this is our second blog since the website has been live. Up until about April of 2018, any web-based social media was performed via Facebook. We have been putting in a lot of hard work, effort and time to ensure that we are making the website mirror our Facebook page, associated pages, as well as other social media platforms. We are constantly looking at the content that goes into our web-based media and we try to provide the latest & greatest news. We would like to do a better job of covering & recording our field work by means of a digital catalogue, but at this point, until we receive the funding to purchase these items we are stuck using basic apple platform hardware & software. There is a major need that has to be filled when it comes to our media presence. Any and all material, equipment or monetary donations are greatly appreciated so that we may expand our media capabilities.

Volunteers are important to this organization. This year, we had an amazing show of support with our volunteers, spanning all over Alabama and other states. We threw several events which fell under the advocacy model. We had several folks step-up and fill vital roles during these events. However, The Initiative - USA has implemented a strict volunteerism policy. Accordingly, we reserve the right to screen our volunteers, request references as well as perform a background check at the expense of the volunteer. Because of these intensive steps to volunteer, our administration REQUESTS ONLY serious inquiries about volunteerism & sponsorship. Our organization serves as a completely independent nonprofit organization. Funding can be very limited at times, so in order to keep our organization moving forward, we rely on private donations to help drive programs & services. HVIA has many opportunities for volunteerism & sponsorship with our organization. Typically, the volunteer experience can be really rewarding, so our staff attempt to place volunteers and sponsorship opportunities do allow the individual or organization to get the most of the moment. If you are interested in volunteer or sponsorship opportunities with The Initiative - USA, please send any request for an application marked ‘VOLUNTEER’ to admin@theinitiative.vet.

Sponsorship is vital to the success of Homeless Veterans Initiative - USA. Most funding the organization receives is contributed by unpaid volunteer staff members & private donations. When the funding isn’t there, it falls of the shoulders of the staff to make ends meet. The organizational primary focus is and has always been advocacy first. Advocacy does have its’ own digital / social media presence, however, this also requires an effort in hosting & attending veteran-centric social events as well as developing community relationships & the conversation about veteran advocacy. There is also an aspect of independent research, formal administration processes & procedures, data access, etc. that have direct impact when it comes to allocating funding for projects. As the need for the organization grows, so does the need for support. Please consider donating today. You may send your request for donations & sponsorship marked ‘SPONSORSHIP’ to admin@theinitiative.vet.

Homeless Veterans Initiative was blessed to be donated a vehicle which we have proudly dubbed the name of Scooter. Scooter is a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo. In our dedication to protecting donor dollars, we thought of ways we could expand the capabilities of Scooter while eliminating the costs to maintain those capabilities. We made the decision to modify the vehicle & turn it into a Active Homeless Veteran Mobile Crisis Response Unit. A mobile office. Eliminating the storefront & overhead that it takes to maintain those places. Scooter is considered a pilot program with the intent to launch 15 additional vehicles to respond to veteran crisis 24/7, anywhere in the country. This model allows us to maximize the exposure of the organization in order to reach as many veterans as we can & provide resources, services & support for at-risk & homeless veterans. This organization has collectively traveled approximately 70,000 miles between 2017-2019 in support of veterans & military related programs. Currently, this is a self-funded project but our administration is working on a funding proposal to seek out support for this project. If you are interested in supporting the independent research of this organization, please send us an e-mail.

Proper equipment is vital for success of our mission statement. This organization has a major need for technology in order to bring our vision to fruition. Not only do we have the occasional vehicle maintenance & repair, there is also a need to purchase proprietary technology & upkeep or update software, hardware, media & production equipment, etc. Currently, the organization is trying to improve the quality of the digital & social media through production tools for a mobile high-def AV mini-studio so that we can produce media on the road, immediately. Proper equipment is also important for success in performing & auditing current veteran research. If you have any interest in supporting this aspect of our program, please contact us.

So, where do we go from here? 2019 is looking very promising for the organization. We have worked extremely hard and feel that we have a very great start to a practical working model for homeless population reentry. But we need your support and we can’t do it alone.

Starting in 2019, Homeless Veterans Initiative - USA will be taking applications for board positions. If you or someone you know has the qualifications and heart for service, please consider applying for the HVIA-IAC (Homeless Veterans Initiative of Alabama - Internal Advisory Council) We hope to grow our organization, assist in the rehabilitation of at-risk & homeless veterans & the communities we serve, & gain quality experience & equity in the process. All this we do in HUMBLE SERVICE & to HONOR GOD.

Our administrative, social & peer support models are proving to have success from a grassroots perspective & personally I am excited to see everything that we have worked for continue to grow, having major impacts in the social, political & policy aspects that overlap at-risk & veteran issues. Therefore, we will continue aggressively develop our support base & improve our methods where they are deficient while practicing common-sense measures. Volunteers will begin to have an opportunities to experience field-work and get hands on with the homeless population, advocacy, & case management.

I hope you have enjoyed the brief overview. We are incredibly excited about the future of our organization & are excited to have to a part of it. Volunteer! Advocate! Donate!

Very Respectfully,

Pat Johnson, President & Founder

Homeless Veterans Initiative - USA