**Follow-up to close of Crowdrise holiday campaign**
As an Active Duty Navy Chief Petty Officer living in San Diego since July of 2000 with a brief gap for assignment in Washington State and Guam, I have seen the homeless veteran population increase drastically. Yes, there are numerous programs and resources available to help the concern; however, there can never be too much help given quite honestly because the demographic is growing daily unfortunately. The largest percentage of our homeless veterans (Increased by 24% since 2017 reaching more than 1,300) according to the 2018 “Point-In-Time” survey are from the “Post-Vietnam” or “Desert Storm” eras from 1976 to 1991 with more than 50% of those being outright full honorable discharges. Most of our veterans are simply great people who think of themselves as tough and self-reliant due to their training and or experience and are just too reluctant to ask for help out of fear of being a “burden” to anyone in society. After seeing so much first hand as an upcoming veteran my family and I decided that although we are not rich we wanted to try to help somehow. Over the years, we have seen without a doubt that every little bit helps. Especially seeing numerous local businesses’ join together to purchase jackets and food we decided to start this campaign to help further contribute. With the upcoming cold and wet weather period for the San Diego area, we wanted to focus on jackets. Researching further, the jackets we are fundraising for are made by a non-profit organization called The Empowerment Plan. It is a Detroit based nonprofit organization focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycle of homelessness. The Empowerment Plan hires single parents from local Detroit shelters and provides them with training and full-time employment as seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence. Their inspiring employees manufacture a coat designed to meet the immediate needs of those in the homeless community. The durable EMPWR Coat can transform into a sleeping bag at night or an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. Since 2012, they have provided employment to 50 homeless individuals—all of whom have now secured permanent housing for themselves and their families —and distributed over 25,000 coats to those in need across the world. Our current goal is $7,500 to procure 50+ jackets for distribution at our local San Diego Veterans Village Bridge Shelter. The cost is approximately $150 per jacket for material, labor, and shipping with all funds going directly to The Empowerment Plan for purchase. Our goal almost achieved our fundraiser will remain open for donations until the evening of *07 January 2019* for final distribution on 21 January 2019. With our communities help to push, our goal will continue to grow beyond just our homeless veterans with not more than 5 to 10 minutes out of anyone’s day. Thank you for your time and help.