By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - "Bring Our Vets a Home." That's the new theme for a Tall City charity. They're gearing up to help dozens of local Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who come home to nothing.
On Thursday evening, Soldiers of Today and Yesterday unveiled their plans to help dozens of homeless veterans across the Basin. However, they'll need a little bit of help. They're trying to raise half a million dollars. They said it's the first step in stopping a growing problem.
Organizers explained one out of every three homeless adults is a veteran. Couple that with an addiction or disorder, and that makes it even worse.
"They'll end up on the streets," Steven Silver, a Philanthropist from El Paso, said. "There are two or three or five rotations, their families are gone and they have no place to go."
"I am very upset," Johnie Lee Qualls, the President of the Midland charity Soldiers of Today and Yesterday, said. Qualls told NewsWest 9 many of the organizations board members have been combat veterans. "We saw [the homeless situation] before from Vietnam, Kosovo, and so on, and we're trying to stop this from happening in our part of the country."
So supporters of Soldiers of Today and Yesterday laid out the plan. The first step is buying a two story building at the corner of Fort Worth and Texas. Then, they'll take the building and turn it into a temporary place to live, to help veterans get back on their feet.
"It's not only the vets, it's their families," Silver added. "We have veteran's families living in cars. We can 'rah rah' all we want, but these young people really have challenges."
Organizers said to solve this problem on the national scale, they have to zero in on it locally.
"They are given other opportunities," Silver explained. "For training, for education, for mental health, counseling and so it's a good initiative for them, because without it, there's nothing."
Again, the goal is to raise half a million, which would cover the building and help them get started housing the veterans. Before they talk about the rest of the programs they'll offer, they need to get the building first.
If you would like to help or just want more information about the midland charity, contact:
"Soldiers of Today and Yesterday"
-Johnie Lee Qualls, President/CEO