Photo Exhibit of Homeless Veterans Begins Statewide Tour

May 11, 2009, 01:01 ET from Heading Home Minnesota

Launch event in St. Paul offers personal stories and preview for Minnesota's leaders

MINNEAPOLIS, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Portraits of Home II: Veterans in Search of Shelter in Greater Minnesota - a new photo exhibit focusing on the day-to-day challenges of homeless military veterans - is being previewed by leaders from Minnesota's legislative, business, housing, veterans and arts communities Monday. The event is the official launch of a two-year statewide tour to the general public.

"Portraits of Home II offers an intimate look at life for Minnesota's veterans who are homeless, providing a transformational experience to those who see it in person," said Warren Hanson, president and CEO for the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF).

Among those participating in today's launch event at the Minnesota History Center and sharing his personal experience is a formerly homeless United States Marine Corps veteran, Timothy McKnight. In addition, several of the notable photographers involved in the effort will be on hand to discuss their experiences capturing the faces of the homeless veterans and the places that they call home.

"Homelessness is an unfortunate reality for too many of Minnesota's veterans. Organizations like ours are having to specialize in helping those who have proudly served our country with finding safe, decent and affordable places to live," said Kathleen Vitalis, executive director for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV). "That's why we chose to be involved with Portraits of Home II. We think it is important that others see what we are encountering on a regular basis."

"We know how to end homelessness; the question is 'will we end homelessness?'" said Kit Hadley, executive director of Heading Home Minnesota, the statewide initiative to end homelessness. "When it comes to veterans who have done so much for the rest of us, how can the answer be 'no?'"

This new photographic exhibit builds upon the successful and groundbreaking Portraits of Home - Families in Search of Shelter exhibit sponsored by GMHF that traveled the state from 2005 through 2007. The previous exhibit traveled to communities ranging from Rochester, St. Cloud and Marshall to Elbow Lake and New York Mills.

GMHF has already received interest in having this new exhibit travel to various communities across Minnesota, says Hanson.

Portraits of Home II is presented by GMHF in cooperation with MACV and Heading Home Minnesota. More information is available at


Heading Home Minnesota is a public-private partnership that integrates the strategies of Minnesota's Business Plan to End Long-Term Homelessness and ten regional Heading Home programs. Heading Home Minnesota is working to end homelessness through innovative, unprecedented coordinated partnerships and with the support of the public, business, nonprofit, faith, and philanthropic sectors. More information is available at


Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF) is a private, nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen families and communities and promote economic vitality throughout greater Minnesota by supporting the creation and preservation of affordable housing. GMHF combines short-term financing and permanent loans for single- and multi-family housing with technical assistance to communities and developers to promote the creation of well-planned, mixed-income and sustainable neighborhoods and communities. GMHF integrates the production of affordable housing with broader community development strategies and environmentally-sustainable development practices, including green building, sustainable land use planning, and community-based planning assistance. Since its inception, GMHF has provided nearly $110 million to help create over 8,100 affordable homes worth over $947 million statewide. More information is available at


For over 17 years, Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) has coordinated activities and partnered with other agencies to provide services not already available to veterans and their families, including housing. MACV operates three regional offices in Minneapolis, Duluth, and Mankato. More information is available at

SOURCE Heading Home Minnesota