Elected officials connect in solidarity with plight of homeless veterans

NVHS has helped to drastically reduce homelessness among veterans.

Brevard County’s constitutional officers will host the sixth annual Rescuing Veterans Lost in America Gala on Oct. 16 at the Radisson Resort at the Port Convention Center.

The event, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., will raise funds and draw awareness of the National Veterans Homeless Support’s effort to eliminate homelessness among veterans in Brevard County and beyond.

NVHS has been instrumental in drastically reducing the homeless veteran population on the Space Coast. The population went from a high of 1,800 homeless veterans in 2008 to less than 300 by 2018.

But there is still a lot of work to do, said Brevard County Property Appraiser Dana Blickley, who heads organizing the gala along with the constitutional officers, the State Attorney and the Public Defender.

“Even though we have reduced our homeless population by 88 percent, we still have to work to prevent others from becoming homeless,” Blickley said. “In 2020, we helped 135 families prevent becoming homeless.”

Blickley said everyone should want to support veterans for the sacrifices they made on the nation’s behalf. The gala is one way of doing so. Attendees will hear of the efforts being made to help veterans, getting some out of homelessness and preventing others from becoming homeless. Some of the formerly homeless share their stories of how they have gone on to success after being helped with housing, job referrals and counseling.

George Taylor Jr., the NVHS president and CEO, said the organization’s work is successful because of the community involvement.

“It shows the strength of our community as a whole in helping veterans,” he said. “Having the elected officials come together to do this speaks for our community.”

In addition to Blickley, the other elected officials involved in helping NVHS help the veterans are Clerk of Courts Rachel Sadoff, Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Tax Collector Lisa Cullen, Supervisor of Election Lori Scott, State Attorney Phil Archer and Public Defender Blaise Trettis.

Taylor said many other individuals help and attend the event, while companies and organizations support the cause in other ways.

“It’s a great opportunity for showing solidarity for preventing homelessness,” he said.

Tickets for the gala, which includes dinner, are $100 per person or $1,000 per table for 10 people. In addition, there are sponsorship opportunities available. Tickets and sponsorship information is available through the NVHS.org/events.

Radisson Resort at the Port Convention Center is at 8701 Astronaut Blvd. in Cape Canaveral.

Blickley expects the event to sell out as it has in previous years.