At any point in time in the United States there can be as many as 40,000 veterans living on the streets, with no place to call home.
In Hampton Roads, a region inundated with military bases, active duty military personnel, veterans, and retired veterans, there are estimated to be as many as 1,000 homeless veterans, living on the streets and sleeping who knows where.
Veterans HomeFront, a Chesapeake-based, veteran-owned organization, is working to change that.
On Aug. 22 at the Brick Anchor Brew-House in Norfolk, “A Night for Heroes” will give others a chance to help area vets in need, simply by doing nothing more than eating food and drinking a delicious beer.
“These are little pieces that can go a long way,” said Antione Hines, founder and CEO of Veterans HomeFront, who is intimately familiar with the struggles veterans can face as they transition out of the military.
After serving 10 years on submarines in the Navy, Hines transitioned out in 2010 as a disabled veteran.
One thing led to another and a year later he found himself homeless and struggling. He eventually began volunteering and by 2016 Veterans HomeFront came into being and had obtained its 501(c)3 certificate.
Now he’s helping other veterans who have somehow fallen through the cracks in the system.
“One thing we don’t want is for them to think that nobody cares about them,” Hines said, citing alarmingly high suicide rates among veterans.
The event at Brick Anchor will raise money that will be used to help connect struggling vets to the services they need – specifically those provided by Veterans Affairs.
Phillip Smith, owner/operator of Brick Anchor and himself a retired officer of the Army, said they’re proud and honored to be a part of the fundraiser and to help organizations like Veterans HomeFront.
“Too many think of our vets only on Memorial Day and Veterans Day,” he said. “However, every single day there are veterans in need, struggling to overcome a myriad of challenges, many of them brought on by their service to our nation. At the Brick, we don’t forget… and never will.”
A Night for Heroes will run from 5-11 p.m. It will also feature a band made up of veterans, a comedian who is a veteran, and a host who is a veteran.