When she retired after serving 22 years in the Army as a helicopter pilot, Lt. Colonel Deborah Snyder formed Operation Renewed Hope Foundation in 2011 to help end homelessness among veterans. At the time, there were over 68,000 homeless veterans nationwide. According to last year’s point in time count, that number has dropped in three years to 49,900. Operation Renewed Hope Foundation works diligently to end this plight for good, starting in the Washington, DC metro area.
Deborah started her foundation from scratch. It took lots of time to research, but Deborah built her non-profit from the ground up and secured a grant from Department of Veterans Affairs. Her organization uses the housing-first method of getting a roof overhead, and then provides wraparound support services to include employment, transportation assistance, networking, food, clothing, furniture and referrals to pro bono medical and dental services. At the local VA, counselors and case workers suggest Operation Renewed Hope Foundation as a resource to veterans in need. To further raise visibility, the foundation also hosts fundraising events.
Operation Renewed Hope Foundation has a strong team of 40 volunteers and four case managers to help veterans out of homeless situations. As an effective nonprofit, it takes pride in quickly expediting help to families in need. Her team begins helping veterans who call within 24 hours of their call. Deborah’s team has helped more than 200 vets and their families in two years, raising more than $300,000 to buy foreclosed homes and discounted properties.
“To have a single homeless veteran is unacceptable,” Deborah says. Drawing on her experience as a leader in the army, where she oversaw 200 soldiers, Deborah is carrying out a mission with a long-term objective to end veteran homelessness. She has tapped into a new form of camaraderie with her team as they work together to mobilize resources quickly for veterans in need.
Many of the veterans who have been helped have turned around, volunteered to work with this organization and lent a hand to those who came behind them. “This experience has made more grateful for what I have,” Deborah explains. “When I lie down at night, I look up at the ceiling and am thankful. I know there are people right now who don’t have that.”
Deborah was recognized by L'Oréal Paris and Points of Light as a 2014 Woman of Worth for her extraordinary volunteer work. Nominate an inspiring woman who is selflessly creating change in her community to be one of this year's Women of Worth: http://www.lorealparisusa.com/en/women-of-worth.aspx