Militarytimes.com reports of every 10,000 veterans in America, 21 were experiencing homelessness at the start of 2020. Veterans make up nearly six percent of the US population but eight percent of the country’s homeless population. According to a 2019 Pew Research study, 42 percent of surveyed veterans said their military service was not useful for jobs outside of the military. In Pittsburgh, Project Love Coalition is working to better veterans’ lives. “A group of us veterans came together and went to the mayor’s office and expressed interest in ending homelessness for veterans. From that meeting, we formally organized as the Project Love Coalition,” said Project Love Coalition President Kent Bey.
He hopes that people will come together and join hands and hearts to improve the quality of life for veterans who have served our country with honor but are now in need. Project Love Coalition empowers veterans to restore love, pride, and purpose in neighborhoods through agriculture-based projects, community building, workforce development, and housing.
“This is just an extension of our service that we did in the military. We served honorably…so this is basically an extension of our service. We served our country, and now we want to serve our community,” said Bey.
As a veteran himself, Bey can identify with difficulties of adjusting to civilian life. While he does not regret serving, he admits transferring military skills to a nonmilitary world can be challenging.
“A lot of times, we go into the military and do a job well, but when we come out of the military, we don’t have any place for that specific type of job. For example, if my job was to drive or repair tanks, there’s no place to do that in the civilian society. Part of our job is to be able to translate those skills and work ethic veterans had and find a way to identify civilian occupations.”
Long-term, Project Love Coalition is working with local government to establish a resource center for veterans in the historic Hill District. If you would like to donate or partner with the Project Love Coalition, visit plcpgh.org.
606 Liberty Avenue, 3rd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222