When Frantz Fortune realized veterans were in need a place to call home, he sprung into action. With the help of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, Fortune’s non-profit organization, Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO), has been serving homeless men since 2008. VEO has provided more than 200 homeless men with housing, meals, transportation and job-search assistance.
“We’ve been in a war. I have never seen a bomb drop in my backyard. Why is that? Knowing that the veterans come back and had to live on the streets, I couldn’t take it. It started with eight guys I was trying to help and finally after three months, I couldn’t find any help for them. I rented a house so they would have somewhere to go. That’s how VEO started,” he shares.
The VEO village, located at 373 West Lake Ave., offers transitional housing intended to provide homeless veterans the tools to achieve self-sufficiency and encourage rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Funded in part by the Home Depot Foundation, VEO unveiled its new campus, which includes an apartment building; three homes, – one for commercial use; 26 new beds to its permanent housing program, a pavilion, fencing and enhanced landscaping.
“The Home Depot foundation has pledged $30 million to help veterans. They’ve been a tremendous support,” continues Fortune.
In 2011, the Home Depot Foundation announced their support for veterans. Kelly Caffarelli, the president of the Home Depot Foundation, explains, “We made a commitment that we were going to invest $30 million to help veterans and to ensure every veteran gets a safe place to call home. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to invest that money at VEO and to see the wonderful work that has gone on. From now until Veteran’s Day [November 11], we will do 300 projects. There will be orange shirts, Home Depot volunteers, working side-by-side with veterans to make sure [VEO] is a wonderful place for them to live and enjoy the years to come. ”
Through donations and corporate support, VEO leads a national crusade to end homelessness and further champion its efforts to provide housing and resources to homeless veterans across Metropolitan Atlanta. –yvette caslin
For more information, please visit www.veohero.org