With less than a week before Veteran’s Day, homeless shelter Dégagé Ministries released this video showing Jim Wolfe—a U.S. Army veteran who has struggled with homelessness, poverty and substance abuse–getting the time-lapsed makeover of a lifetime.
Not sure if it’s the dramatic transformation, the look on Wolfe’s face at the end or the Explosions In The Sky score (p.s. you HAVE to listen to them if you don't already!), but the video can just melt any dark icicle of a heart. And according to the clip, Wolfe has since been attending Alcoholics Anonymous for the first time and is working on getting his life together.
Homelessness and substance abuse among veterans are legitimate issues. Let's take a look at the numbers:
- 62,619 veterans are homeless on any given night, and that number doubles over the course of a year, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
- About 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- About 70 percent of homeless veterans also suffer from substance abuse problems according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- 20% of the male homeless population is comprised of veterans
Dégagé Ministries is a homeless shelter located in Grand Rapids, Mich. that provides shelter, meals and counseling for homeless individuals. In 2001, its operating budget was $1,410,192–grants and donations—according to its Form 990.