On Thursday Feb. 18th, Connecticut Governer Dannel Malloy announced that it has become the second state to have officially ended veteran homelessness. This follows the lead of Virginia who became the first state to end homelessness for veterans in November. Gov. Malloy credited the success to a cooperative effort between state housing agencies, shelter workers, community groups, and a partnership with the department of veterans affairs. “The most important thing you can do for a family is to give it a safe home, give it a decent home, a home you can sustain yourself and your family in,” he said.
Over the past 12 months the state has found or built homes for over 280 veterans across the state. With all veterans in the state now housed the state has set goals for dealing with incoming veterans in the future. They have vowed that any veteran who is homeless will be placed in temporary housing within 30 days and have a permanent home within 60 days. This is largely due to the $1 billion the state has committed to housing construction. The 16,000 homes they have committed to build over include many affordable low-cost homes.
The state also plans to expand the fight against homelessness to youth and families. Using the housing first approach to eradicating homelessness among veterans, they hope to end homelessness for these groups by 2017.
I came across Sword & Plough while researching socially responsible companies that are not just focused on making profits, but also on doing social good. Sword & Plough is is a fantastic example of a company that raises profits while also creating solutions to social issues; in this case by helping to employ our nation’s veterans.
Sword & Plough works with veterans to repurpose military surplus fabric into stylish handbags. The company is committed to supporting veterans by employing them. It only works with manufacturers that employ veterans and generate employment opportunities for retired soldiers.
Founders and sisters, Betsy and Emily Nunez, grew up in a military family. Emily Nunez is also a veteran. Her time serving as an officer in the U.S. Army inspired her to start Sword & Plough with her sister Betsy. As Emily wrote in GOOD Magazine,
“U.S veterans ages 18 to 24 have unemployment rates 16 percent higher than the national average. More than one million veterans are projected to leave the military in the next four years, and the crisis of veteran unemployment and related depression is projected to grow as a result.”
The company aims to solve this problem by helping veterans transition into civilian life by finding meaningful employment and a sense of purpose.
Sword & Plough also recycles resources through its production. The materials used to make the bags would otherwise be burned or buried in a landfill. The company projects is will up recycle up to 20,000 pounds of military surplus within its first year of operation.
Not only does Sword & Plough work to promote veteran employment, it’s also committed to ‘Made in USA’ production, sustainable fashion and strengthened civilian-military relations.
To buy a Sword & Plough bag and to learn more about their mission, visit their website.