Guest Blogger: Todd Schenkenberger, Danberry REALTOR
We have all met people in our lives that have inspired us to be better, to work harder and do more.
Ken Leslie is someone who has inspired me.
Seven years ago, Ken was doing a street outreach with the Veterans Administration. A VA coordinator expressed frustration that a security deposit was all that was preventing two vets from getting housing. There were 33 others in the pipeline with the same problem. Ken asked what veterans did when they did not have enough money for the deposit. He was told that they are sent to churches and VFW halls to beg for it.
This broke his heart. Instead of moaning about it, Ken was inspired to do something. He called an executive at ProMedica and asked for $26, 250 to help get these 35 vets housed. Seven days later, on Valentine’s Day 2012, he was able to secure the funding. Four days after that, the first vet was housed and Veterans Matter was born. With the support of thousands of people including celebrities like John Mellencamp, Dusty Hill, Ice-T and Kid Rock, the program has expanded nationwide. It all started here in Toledo, Ohio thanks to one guy who was pissed off about how our veterans were being treated. He decided to take action!
The average cost to get a veteran housed in Toledo is $650; nationwide it’s $750. As of September 2019, 3,095 veterans across the country have secured housing as a result of this program. Approximately 300 of them are right her in Toledo. Ninety-one percent have remained housed because of ongoing case management that gives these men and women the support they need to stay on track. This is an amazing stat because it shows that this program is working at not only getting vets housed but keeping them housed!
Each year, Veterans Matter does a one-mile walk that happens in downtown Toledo. It signals the opening of Tent City, which is a larger program to help address the needs of the homeless. The thought is, walk one mile in another person’s shoes and you will learn more about their struggles. Julie Wood and I have formed a team and we will be walking to let everyone know that Danberry REALTORS walk to support our heroes! We have set a modest goal to raise money to house three vets.
I hope we can exceed that goal.
The walk takes place on Friday, October 18th at 6 pm at Civic Center Mall, 750 Jackson Street. It costs $25 to walk in the event and you get a t-shirt if you register before October 14th. If you can’t make the walk, sponsor me or someone else on the walk. Every dollar raised goes directly to helping a veteran get housed.
If you would like to sign up to walk with us or donate, you can discover more about this event at https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/Walk4Veterans. You can also reach out to Julie or myself with any questions regarding the event.
Julie Wood 419.460.8454
Todd Schenkenberger 419.280.0676