Local officials draw hundreds to help homeless veterans



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Time and time again Brevard County residents have been ready to help when it comes to honoring veterans and assisting the ones in need.

Hundreds turned out last month for a $100-per-person fundraiser — Rescuing Veterans Lost in America — at the Radisson Resort at Port Canaveral.

It was organized by Brevard County Property Appraiser Dana Blickley and other constitutional officers — Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis, Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Tax Collector Lisa Cullen, Supervisor of Elections Lori Scott, in addition to the 18th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Phil Archer and Public Defender Blaise Trettis.

It is the fifth year that Blickley, whose father served with the Marine Corps, has recruited others to help raise money for National Veterans Homeless Support. NVHS is a Brevard-based, non-profit organization that has helped to greatly reduce the homeless veteran population in the area.

It looked to me as if the event is outgrowing the convention center at the Radisson.

Almost every seat was taken in the hall at the Radisson Resort, packed with 46 tables with 10 chairs each.

“There is no county better than Brevard when it comes to veterans’ advocacy,” Blickley said. “It’s a testament to what Brevard means to veterans.”

George Taylor Sr., founder of NVHS, said Blickley is tops when it comes to individuals who care about helping veterans in need.

Taylor said the homelessness among veterans has been reduced from about 1,800 just a few years ago to a little more than 200 today.

Some of the homeless simply do not want to go into transitional housing. NVHS operates transitional houses where they help veterans access their benefits, help them to find work and a permanent home of their own.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott was the keynote speaker for the event that drew state, county and city officials from around Brevard.

Companies and organizations in Brevard helped to sponsor and donated items to be auctioned at the event, held July 27.

The event highlighted the case of a veteran helped by NVHS. Michael Moran went from homelessness in 2018 to rekindling a relationship with family, moving into permanent housing and receiving a 100 percent disability rating form the Department of Veterans Affair.

His is one example of the dozens helped by NVHS. The organization also is working to help prevent low income veterans from falling into homelessness.