Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Tiny House Village For Veterans in Flint’ Expected to Break Ground In June. Michigan Veterans News & Resources for Jan. 24, 2024

Michigan Veterans News

More women veterans are homeless, bucking overall trend

Homeless woman veteran

Although total homelessness among all veterans decreased by 4.5% from 2020 to 2023, homelessness among women veterans actually increased by nearly 24%, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In that same period, the number of unsheltered women veterans—those living on the streets, in a car or in another unsafe situation—jumped nearly 48%.

While the general proportion of women veterans experiencing homelessness is still low, the trend is concerning, given that the VA estimates women are on track to make up 18% of all U.S. veterans by 2040.

The VA acknowledges that it must accelerate efforts to provide housing solutionshealth care and community employment services to address the unique challenges of nearly 2 million women veterans—the fastest growing segment of the veteran population—and their families.

Read more in VA News.

If you are a veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838). You can also visit VA Homeless Programs.

Senate bill would offer veterans with lost medical records a way to access disability benefits

The chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Jon Tester, wants to ensure that veterans have a new way to access disability benefits when their medical records have been lost transitioning between the Defense Department and the VA. 

Tester, D-Montana, has introduced the Fred Hamilton Veterans' Lost Records Act —named for the Montana Veterans of Foreign Wars state chief of staff—as a way for veterans to provide alternative evidence when their service medical records are incomplete due to damage or loss by the federal government.

An Air Force veteran, Hamilton was exposed to toxins during his career in Vietnam and other deployments and his military treatment records were lost upon his retirement, Tester's office said. 

Thanks to provisions in the 2022 Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act), VA benefits eligibility applies for veterans with toxic exposures dating as far back as the Vietnam era, but still does not offer full coverage to veterans like Hamilton without access to their medical records.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. Read more in Government Executive.

'My way of giving back:' MVAA employee honors late husband, Iraq War veteran through her work

Kate Preston with photo of husband Darren

Kate Preston has two words tattooed on the inside of her wrist: "Love, Darren."

"It's in his handwriting," Preston says. "It was from the first letter he wrote me when he went to bootcamp."

Kate Preston's tattoo - the handwriting of her late husband

She touches the ink, recalling memories of her husband who passed away in October 2015. Sgt. Darren Preston was a carpenter in the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Carson, Colorado. He joined the Army in 2005, a few years after high school.

Darren would deal with physical pain from his deployments, injuries to his back and ankle, along with PTSD. He sought treatment from a VA doctor, who would often switch medications and dosages to try to find something that would work.

But ultimately, the combination of medications led to his death. In 2015, on the day that Kate, Darren and their two children were set to move into a new home, Kate found her husband unresponsive.

An autopsy would determine that Darren's death was due to an accidental overdose from a combination of Zoloft and extended-release morphine.

"I struggled with that for a long time and didn't tell people because I didn't want them to think he was an addict," Preston says. "I knew he struggled with PTSD, but a lot of people didn't. On the outside he seemed totally normal and happy."

Read the full story at

Kate's story is part of the MVAA's I Am a Veteran campaign, which tells the stories of Michigan veterans through their own words or through those of their loved ones.

Trevor and Taylor Preston

The Prestons' children, Trevor and Taylor, at their father's gravesite.

'Tiny Homes' for veterans in Flint expected to break ground in June

Tiny Veteran Village rendering

Images courtesy of Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties

A 'tiny house' village for veterans on Flint's north side will include 24 homes and a Community Resource Center when the complex is completed in mid-2025.

The $3.5 million Sacred Heart Veteran Village is expected to break ground in June 2024, according to property owner Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties.

The property was acquired by the agency after the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and School were closed and demolished. It's located on East Moore Street across from the North End Soup Kitchen run by Catholic Charities.

Veterans in Sacred Heart Village will be housed for one to three years in ADA compliant homes, which will average between 250 to 400 square feet in dimension.

The groundbreaking on Phase 1 is scheduled for June 2024 to complete the Community Veteran Resource Center and the first 12-14 permanent tiny homes. The target date for Phase 1 completion is January 2025. Phase 2 will include an additional 12 homes with a target completion date of summer 2025.

Katie Baxter, CEO of Catholic Charities, said the village's community resource center will serve as a hub for residents and include a full range of essential support programs and classes.

"We plan to have all kinds of wraparound services for veterans, including financial literacy, employment, mental health counseling, trauma services, substance abuse, spiritual support and exercise," she told the Grand Blanc View. "All the things that veterans will need to feel safe and have a stable transition."

Visit the Catholic Charities website for more information, to fill out a volunteer form to help at the village or to donate.

Tiny Home Village Resource Center

No Barriers USA seeks veterans with disabilities for 2024 Warriors programs


No Barriers USA, which provides programs for veterans with visible and invisible disabilities, is excited to launch its 2024 season with the opening of applications for its No Barriers Warriors program. The application period opened on Jan. 9.

In 2024, No Barriers Warriors will have several programs for veterans with disabilities: basecamp experiences in Red Feather, Colorado, and backcountry expeditions in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and Northern Colorado, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.

According to No Barriers USA's website, the experience for veterans is free. They will provide you with a flight and all meals, lodging and necessary equipment from the time you land at your destination to the moment you take off. They ask that veterans take it upon themselves to travel to and from their chosen airport.

Read more at VA News.

France gets ready to say 'merci' to WWII vets for D-Day's 80th anniversary this year

D-Day image

France is getting ready to show its gratitude toward World War II veterans who will return, many for the last time, to Normandy beaches this year for 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day to mark the defeat of the Nazis.

A ceremony at Omaha Beach, with many heads of state expected to be present, will be honoring the nearly 160,000 troops from Britain, the U.S., Canada and other nations who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that D-Day celebrations, alongside the Paris Olympics, will be "France's rendezvous with the world."

Read more from the Associated Press.

5 tips for succeeding even when you're the only veteran in the room

People in business meeting

There you are. You've got your first post-military job. You're excited, ready and anxious to dive in. You know there will be a lot to learn, but you learn quickly.

Walking into your first day on the new job, you dressed to impress (and also fit in), brushed up on your elevator pitch (so you can introduce yourself to new colleagues) and even packed a lunch so you won't have to go off premises when it's time.

Then comes your first opportunity to introduce yourself to a new teammate: Your boss initiates the meeting by telling you, "This is Bob. He's been with us as a project lead for six years. He's one of our star programmers!" Bob seems happy with this introduction.

Now your turn. You offer, "My name is Chris. I was a 90A and just finished up as the S1 for the 728th. I ran the battalion PAC and was responsible for OERs, NCOERs, awards and all MILPO actions. Until we came out of the box in October, I was XO for the 308th Quartermaster Company."

And just like that, the wheels start to fall off ...

Read the rest at

Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

Online Resources



Call 1-800-MICH-VET



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