Bitter cold affects agency that helps veterans, donations needed

WEST ALLIS (WITI) -- The frigid temperatures are affecting so many things -- utility bills, car batteries and the homeless. One agency has experienced an influx of homeless veterans and their families seeking shelter -- and that is causing a problem.

The agency is Veterans Employment Alliance. The organization helps veterans for free, but with the need for housing increasing because of the weather, the money is depleted.

Now, the agency is asking for help.

"It`s desperate for the veterans that need the help," C.J. Brown said.

Brown is the founder of the Veterans Employment Alliance. He is seeking public support in this desperate time.

The agency provides training, counseling and an employment program for veterans.

Ralph Schmidt is in an employment training class. He says anyone helping Veterans Employment Alliance is helping the economy.

"It`s an investment in America. The problem isn`t going to go away. The economic growth and the jobs provided turns around and gets reinvested in local business," Schmidt said.

The agency provides transitional homes for veterans, and thanks to the weather, it's the housing aspect that's prompted the appeal.

"Basically, that began with the influx two weeks ago when that cold hit. I mean, big time. Cold hit. It was bad. We also go out on the streets looking for homeless vets. I know where the camps are because I lived in them," Brown said.

Brown -- a veteran himself, was once homeless, and views other veterans as brothers and sisters -- with some needing a little help getting their feet on solid ground.

"You know, we really got to get those dollars coming in to help these people. Otherwise, they`re going to be on the streets again," Brown said.

Brown says the agency needs between $60,000 and $100,000 to make sure no one is turned away and funding can continue for the housing already being provided.

He says in mid-April, some grants and contracts will kick in to make the organization financially sound once again -- but until then...

"What we`re saying is support our vets -- the ones who fought for your freedom and contribute to us so that we can help them get their lives back together. That`s what we do," Brown said.

For more information or to make a donation to the Veterans Employment Alliance, CLICK HERE.