Thanks to the philanthropy of Katy Perry, 22 homeless veterans in Michigan and Texas will soon cross the threshold into permanent housing. Perry is a supporter of Veterans Matter, a growing national program that works with HUD and VA to house homeless veterans. As part of its fundraising efforts, Veterans Matter auctioned a Katy Perry Prizmatic Tour concert package with the winner, Scott Vaughn of Oakton, Virginia, getting to be the superstar’s VIP guest with concert tickets and to meet her backstage before her recent tour stop in Cleveland.
“Thank you so much for helping Veterans Matter, it is so important that we help those who fought for our freedom,” Perry told a delighted Scott Vaughn.
His winning bid will enable Veterans Matter to fund housing deposits for 17 homeless veterans in Austin, Texas, and five in Detroit.
“It was an incredible night,” recalls the still ecstatic Vaughn. “When you meet Katy in person you see how nice, caring, and also how funny she truly is. With so many great causes that she supports, we are thankful that she also took the time and the interest, to help our homeless veterans,” he added.
Veterans Matter was formed in 2012 after its founder, Ken Leslie, heard that some Veterans were in need of deposits to move into permanent housing. Recently, Veterans Matter teamed up with a group of recording artists to bring attention to this hurdle for homeless Veterans.
Veterans Matter, a program of 1Matters, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit with roots back to 1990, was started by founder Ken Leslie in 2012, after he learned that the biggest obstacle facing some 60,000 homeless veterans eligible for permanent housing assistance is the lack of a rental deposit, a component that is not covered by the HUD-VASH voucher assistance program.
Perry and a growing number of musicians and celebrities, including Ice-T, Kid Rock, John Mellencamp, Dusty Hill, Kix Brooks, Stevie Nicks, and many others, as well as a national Cumulus Media supported radio campaign, are all working to help Veterans Matter raise awareness and funds to provide those deposits directly to the landlords.
“These homeless veterans have guaranteed long-term housing and the keys are jingling in their hands. All they need is the deposit to get them over the threshold. Katy and the others are helping us provide that final piece that pushes them over that threshold.” Leslie said.
With Perry’s donation, the group has housed more than 400 veterans in six states so far. Veterans Matter is about to begin a national fundraising campaign to raise 1 million dollars to fund the next round of vouchers with a goal to house 1,200 more homeless veterans within the next year.
Through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), VA helps Veterans who are chronically homeless for rental assistance through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. VA provides HUD-VASH program participants with clinical and supportive services through VA’s health care system across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
While the HUD-VASH Program provides ongoing rental assistance, participants are required to pay their own security deposits. Coming up with security deposits can be challenging for Veterans exiting homeliness. Through their own goodwill and without government support, Veterans Matter offers security deposits to Veterans in need through their fundraising efforts such as Perry’s donation.
Visit VeteransMatter.org and Facebook.com/VeteransMatter for more information and to join the campaign. Donate by texting VETS to 41444. For videos of the participating artists, visit youtube.com/veteransmatter.
Ken Leslie is the founder of Veterans Matter.