BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - You can help homeless veterans in our area, and all you have to do is vote.
Three Hots and A Cot, which helps transition homeless veterans into affordable housing, is in the running for a $5,000 grant and 100 volunteer hours from Regions Bank.
It’s part of the Regions Bank’s “What a Difference a Day Makes” contest. Three Hots and A Cot is one of 11 nonprofits in eight states competing for online votes to win. Right now, the Birmingham organization is in the lead, but there are still three days of voting left.
“There is an organization called Stand Down Tennessee breathing down our necks," said CFO Rich Cislak. “So we need everybody to vote.”
You can vote once a day between now and Friday by going to Three Hots and A Cot’s Facebook page. If the organization wins, the money will go toward renovations, which are ongoing.
“We’re constantly upgrading the center; so, veterans have a better place to live when they come here," explained Cislak. “We’re getting a brand new kitchen in January, and then we’re going to each of the individual rooms, and we’re going to upgrade them.”
The organization was started several years ago after Cislak’s partner attended a presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. and was amazed by the number of homeless veterans.
“It’s a sad thing in this country that we have homeless veterans living on the streets,” said Cislak.
They decided to take action and reached out to Veteran Affairs, which told them Birmingham was the city where there was the biggest need.
“So within a week we quit our jobs, packed our bags, and moved to Birmingham, Alabama," continued Cislak. “In the eight years we’ve been here, we’ve had over 1,400 veterans come through these doors.”
According to Cislak, the house stays full.
“When one person moves out, there is another waiting to get in,” said Cislak. “It’s a terrible problem, and it needs everybody’s help."
There have been countless success stories at Three Hots and A Cot, including a current veteran named Kenny. Cislak says Kenny, who is a double leg amputee, had been asking for a car. Then last week the organization was donated a vehicle.
“He rolled out there to it, got in the driver seat, started it up, and started driving it up and down the road," explained Cislak. “I couldn’t believe it! This man first came to us from the streets. Here he is six months later, he’s getting ready to own his own vehicle, and he’ll be able to get around."