Supporting Michigan's Veterans

By Reinvention Blog | November 15, 2013

Michigan’s veterans dedicate their lives to defending our freedoms, yet too many don’t receive the support they deserve on the home front.  This week, Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation to benefit veterans and highlighted ways Michigan is working to improve services for those who have given us so much.

Housing for Homeless Veterans

One hundred homeless Michigan veterans now have homes thanks to the opening of Silver Star Apartments, a public, private and nonprofit partnership in Battle Creek that provides veterans critical access to housing, services and a good quality of life.

The governor visited the apartments on Veterans Day and thanked everyone there for their commitment to helping Michigan’s veterans.

“This is truly a wonderful institution and wonderful work is being done,” Governor Snyder said. “I would say it’s a role model for not just Michigan but for the rest of the country on how to handle our veterans in a very positive and supportive way.”

Brian Young, a formerly homeless veteran, says he is fortunate to have the opportunity to move in to Silver Star Apartments.

“Before I was here, I was actually homeless and I was staying at the Gospel Mission in Kalamazoo,” he said. “Silver Star kind of changed my life because it got me off the streets.  The transition from the streets to here was exciting and overwhelming sometimes.  It was fun and terrific and spacious and bright.  I just love living here.”

Helping Families of Disabled Veterans

Families of disabled veterans received some much-needed financial relief this week when Governor Snyder signed new legislation extending a homestead property tax credit.

“I think for the veterans that have homes, that own homes, it will help them financially, with them being disabled, with them not being able to work,” said Beatrice Barnes, the wife of a disabled Vietnam War veteran who has passed away.  “I think it will take up some of their financial obligations and it will help them out a lot.”

Disabled veterans often need costly updates to their homes so they are handicap accessible.  To help offset the cost, disabled veterans received a property tax exemption -- but that exemption was not available once they passed away, leaving their families with financial burdens. Under the new law, that tax exemption can be extended for surviving spouses.

“Michigan’s military veterans, particularly those who are disabled, have sacrificed more for us than we can ever repay,” Governor Snyder said. “They have served to protect our way of life and our freedom. This property tax break will be available to their families will help them afford homes and stay right here in Michigan.”

Careers for Michigan’s Veterans

Michigan veterans return home with new job-ready specialized skills and training but often face difficulty finding a new career. This week, Governor Snyder signed legislation to help solve that problem, while also encouraging employers to look to veterans when hiring new employees. In addition, Governor Snyder announced a new IT career training program for veterans.

“Our veterans possess leadership skills and a work ethic that has been tested at an early age and under extreme circumstances,” Governor Snyder said. “We need to create a clear path for our veterans to use these skills in Michigan’s workforce and help our state’s continued comeback.”

On Wednesday, Gov. Snyder partnered with business and workforce organizations to host the 2013 Governor’s Summit on Veteran’s Talent to help veterans find jobs.  He also signed a series of bipartisan bills that will help match skilled veterans with an employer’s needs.

“We are proud that nearly 700,000 veterans call Michigan home,” the governor said. “But it is up to us now to make sure that we fulfill our obligations to these men and women who have served so bravely.”
For information on other services available for Michigan veterans, please visit: