How Exodus Place plans to end veteran homelessness in Michigan

Exodus Place sign
A sign outside the Front Avenue SW facility greets visitors to the Exodus Place. (Nov. 29, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan nonprofit has a new goal: ending veteran homelessness in Michigan by the Christmas of 2017.

Exodus Place plans to team up with Michigan’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and other nonprofits for the ambitious endeavor.

“When you become homeless you ultimately become hopeless, because it’s an absolutely horrible feeling to be out there on your own,” said Exodus Place President Robb Munger.

Exodus Place
Homeless people gather outside the Exodus Place in Grand Rapids. (Nov. 29, 2016)

Munger says the project to help the estimated 822 homeless military veterans in Michigan has been years in the making. The first step is getting the message out by reaching out to the American Legion, the VA and posting it on social media.

“If we get the men here, we can help them. Our biggest thing is being able to get the message out,” said Munger.

The end goal isn’t to just providing homeless veterans with food and shelter; Exodus Place also wants to give them an education, medical and mental health support, and prepare them for the workforce.

Curtis Green found that new beginning when he came to Exodus Place in 2015.

“Our president, he saw something in me, believed in me and gave me a chance. So he put me on payroll, starting the first of this year and climbing the corporate ladder one step at a time,” said Green.

Green says his time at Exodus Place has been a blessing.

“It has gotten me focused on my life, it’s gotten me more oriented in my religion. It works here, we work. If you don’t believe me, come find out,” he said.

The changed military man has a message for those facing similar struggles.

“Come on in… I’ve got your six. They know what that means,” said Green.

Exodus Place says the homeless veterans it reaches out to who turn down the help will be classified as appropriately sheltered, instead of homeless.

The organization hopes to have a list of partners posted on their website within the next month.