An estimated 50 million people are expected to tune in to the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year, amid the giant balloons and Rockettes, viewers are going to see something different: the true stories of veterans who experienced homelessness.
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans is launching a national campaign drawing awareness to the issue of veteran homelessness, by featuring the stories of veterans in four Built for Zero communities: Bergen County, New Jersey; Detroit, Michigan; Phoenix and Maricopa County, Arizona; and Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina. It premieres during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast and continue to air on network and cable TV.
In addition to the commercial, each veteran’s account of their experience with homelessness — and how they overcame their housing crises with the help of their communities — will be featured on an accompanying website. We hope you’re as inspired as we are by the stories of these four veterans and how they found housing and support, through the help of Built for Zero communities.
The 85 communities in Built for Zero are creating a future where homelessness is not inevitable or inescapable — and never a way of life. These stories serve as a powerful reminder of how these communities are transforming lives.
John experienced homelessness after his service in the Navy. Luckily, he was connected to the services and support he needed to exit homelessness.
“That’s when my life changed,” he said. “My rebirth of life.”
Now he’s the Director of Outreach Services for the United Way of Forsyth County, North Carolina, where he helps link people to affordable housing as part of the region’s Built for Zero efforts to end veteran homelessness.
Another veteran featured is Bobby, who lives in Bergen County, New Jersey. They were the first community in the country to end chronic homelessness and the first in New Jersey to end veteran homelessness. He credits the local team with having a transformative impact on his life.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” Bobby said. “Whether it be my apartment, or my job.”
Since Community Solutions began its work, we’ve helped communities house more than 219,000 people. Each of these people has a story, and we’re proud to share the stories of these four veterans with a national audience.