Homeless veterans receive help from MU graduate students

Friday, October 7, 2011 | 6:09 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Homeless veterans in Columbia are getting the support they need because of MU graduate students.

Participants of the Truman School of Public Affairs’ Grant Writing Program helped Welcome Home, Inc., a nonprofit organization for homeless veterans, receive a grant worth more than $40,000 from the Veterans Administration.

The $41,428 grant will help the transitional living facility with utility payments, moving costs, emergency supplies, childcare and transportation expenses, according to the MU News Bureau press release.

Program coordinator Eoghan Miller said Welcome Home applied for the Veterans Administration grant last year but did not receive it. The writing program was referred to the nonprofit because of the grant writing assistance students have provided since its start in 2009.

The writing program is a part of the Truman School of Public Affairs and has 22 active students participants this semester, Miller said. They spend from 40 to 60 hours a week researching, writing and helping nonprofits with grant writing and have offered their skills to more than a dozen organizations in the community.

Students come into the program with skills they learn from their study in Public Affairs and are able to use in their professional lives as well.

“They really get a first-hand view of working with a nonprofit and are getting their hands dirty,” Miller said.

Program participant Amanda Wheeler said she helped Welcome Home Associate Director Melissa Acton at least once a week with editing the nonprofit’s grant application to make sure the wording was correct.

Wheeler said the application asked for information about the organization’s community outreach, specific assistant programs and the nonprofit’s methods to help homeless veterans find shelter and a place to live.

“I was completely overjoyed (they received the grant) because they provide a service to our community that no one else does,” she said. 

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