San Diego, with its large population of service men and women, is historically significant as a military city. After most veterans have fulfilled their duties, the strong inclination to stay in paradise ultimately keeps them here. There is a darker side to being a veteran, however- no hero's parade, numerous obstacles to finding work, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, and widespread homelessness. It is an obvious issue the city faces, but several players in the city have made great strides in addressing and encouraging veterans to lead prosperous lives after their service. Recently San Diego-franchised national moving company Two Men and a Truck witnessed the problems veterans face, and have partnered with Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) to combat homelessness.
According to Home Again, a website dedicated to the eradication of homelessness in San Diego, current estimates place the amount of homeless living in the city at 8,500. In reality, the site claims that the numbers are closer to 10,000. Regardless, both are extremely high, of which thirty to forty percent are veterans.
The Two Men and a Truck franchise arrived in San Diego this past September, and wanted to make an indelible mark on this problem plaguing their new home. In this venture, they are partnering with the Veterans Village, Scripps Montessori School, NewBridge School in Poway, and Prado Apartments, with their main focus on shelter and hygienic items for the veterans. Scripps Montessori and Newbridge have been holding collections to provide clothing and other basic necessities for the homeless at the Veterans Village.
"This is the first time we've been involved in a project of this kind," says Two Men and a Truck franchisee Alicia Sorber Gallegos, "and we are hoping to make this an annual outreach effort."
Two Men and a Truck have been hosting collections themselves, as well as transporting necessities to the Veterans Village Winter Shelter. This is the fifteenth consecutive operational year for the VVSD Winter Shelter, and as in years past, the facility opened to a long line of homeless veterans waiting to get in. The tent will stay erect through April 6 of this year, and is staffed 24/7 by three shifts of VVSD employees. The shelter provides a range of services, including employment, housing and medical referrals. Mental health counseling is available every night, and Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are held every morning.
For such a new business, albeit a franchise, to show an interest in common goals San Diegans maintain is very beneficial to the city. Through partnerships of Two Men and a Truck with local San Diego business, veterans are now off the street, and provided with a shot of piecing their lives together.