Veterans Affairs also will provide up to $28.90 per veteran per day, which will pay part of the operating costs, she said. The Center for the Homeless will have to raise another $75,000 to $100,000 to run the center each year, Camilleri said.
One man’s vision
Robert L. Miller Sr., the 90-year-old who bought the building for the center, coined his own adjective for the veterans: DOL. Down on their luck.
The retired judge and retired lieutenant commander of the U.S. Naval Reserves started Miller’s Vets, a group of homeless vets who dress in military gear and do military drills and ceremonies. He’s set up a cemetery plot for DOL vets, too.Now he foresees teams of four volunteers who’d track down DOL veterans, take them to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and get them identification cards that verify they are veterans.
“I won’t rest until they’re all registered,” he said.
Then he said he hopes local businesses would jump in to support the veterans who present the ID cards with, for example, a two-for-one deal at a fast-food restaurant.
“I don’t know a merchant that doesn’t want to help veterans,” Miller said. “The trouble is: They don’t know who they are.”
This past spring, Miller said, the University of Notre Dame invited 10 alumni associations across Indiana to clone the Miller’s Vets programs in their communities. As he explains this, he dreams of seeing it spread across the country - and his eyes well up with tears.
Staff writer Joseph Dits: