Midwest HVAC News
SMACNA Greater Chicago
Donates to Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans.
Homelessness can happen to anyone, anywhere, depending on a variety
of circumstances and risk factors. But veterans, who often find the
transition back to civilian life difficult, seem particularly
susceptible. According to the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report
to Congress, 39,471 veterans experienced homelessness on a single
night in January 2016, representing just over nine percent of
homeless adults. Three percent of those veterans included families
Meet Betty, a U.S. Army veteran and 34-year-old mother of three.
Following three years of service, Betty was living with her children
and increasingly verbally abusive boyfriend. Although she wanted to
find safer housing for her kids, she had poor credit and felt she
had no options. Things changed for the better when she learned about
the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program
administered by the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans (MSHV).
Within a month, MSHV helped her find an apartment in her kids’
school district and stable employment as a hairstylist.
In addition to providing permanent housing for veterans, the MSHV
also offers assistance such as career assessments, job placement,
temporary housing, rental payments, counseling and more. Because 40%
of the organization’s annual fund is financed by private
contributions, much of its success lies in the generous financial
donations it receives — like the recent $5,000 check from SMACNA
Greater Chicago, one of the largest and most influential sheet metal
contracting organizations in the country.
“I think it’s important to give back to the community,” said SMACNA
Greater Chicago President Ken Wiesbrook. “SMART 265 (the Sheet Metal
Workers Local Union 265 in Carol Stream, Illinois) has done some
work for the MSHV, as well as a number of our business agents and
contractors, so it seemed like a natural fit for us.”
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T“We are extremely
grateful for their donation, which was a pretty substantial
amount for us,” said Yvonne MacDonald-Hames, director of
development for the MSHV. “We definitely work hard at
fundraising and establishing relationships with donors like Ken
and SMACNA Greater Chicago, and are delighted to receive their
Wiesbrook presented the association’s donation to MacDonald-Hames
during the SMACNA Greater Chicago regular membership meeting in
March. The funds will be used to serve nearly 400 veteran
households with housing, employment, case management and support
services throughout the year.
“Some of our programs are more government-funded than others.
For example, with the Freedom Commissary, we receive no
government grants — that’s all private contributions,”
MacDonald-Hames said. “This money is going to go into our
general operating fund and will go toward those programs where
we don’t receive the government money.”
“Although there are countless worthy nonprofits we could have
chosen, we wanted to support an organization that makes a
profound difference in an individual’s life,” Wiesbrook said.
“We’re talking about our nation’s heroes — it’s hard not to get
behind a cause that supports all they’ve done for our country
and our freedom!”
Wiesbrook, whose term as association president began in January
2017, hopes that SMACNA Greater Chicago continues its
partnership with the MSHV throughout his tenure on the executive
About SMACNA Greater Chicago
SMACNA Greater Chicago represents approximately 350 contractors
who employ nearly 4,000 sheet metal workers in the Chicago area.
Member contractors are involved with heating, ventilating, air
conditioning, architectural sheet metal work, pollution control,
materials handling, roofing, testing and balancing, and
retrofitting. Through educational programs and industry-specific
committees, the association works alongside member contractors
to improve their businesses and elevate the sheet metal
SMACNA, an international trade association representing 3,500
contributing contractor firms, is a leader in promoting quality
and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry.
SMACNA has national offices in Chantilly, Va., outside of
Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill. Visit