Carrie Miller’s life work and passion started with a click.
One night when, as a new student at the University of Michigan-Flint, Carrie was browsing the university website and saw an icon. The icon said, “Do you have a business idea?”
Completing the online form for the University of Michigan – Flint student business incubator was swift for the Flint native, since she did not have answers to most of the questions. She did have an answer to the most important one --- the business idea itself.
“I went into big detail on the idea. Why I wanted to start a business helping women and children. The family orientation of it, the commitment, and the compassion. About a week later I was called in to discuss it. The meeting was supposed to be a half hour interview but it turned out to be an hour and a half.”
It was actually her male military veteran business coach, fellow student Danny Bledsoe, who introduced the idea of serving female veterans. He told Carrie there was a great need and the market segment was not being served.
Whether Mr. Bledsoe was acting on inherent business acumen or a hunch, he was right. According to the Service Women’s Action Network, there are an estimated 13,100 homeless female veterans in the United States, living on the streets, in shelters and in cars. In Genesee County, including Flint, and the surrounding counties, there are at least 150 homeless female veterans, many with children.
Carrie loved the idea and founded Our Home Transitional, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that assists female veterans. The organization’s goal, according to its website, is to provide “transitional housing to single homeless female veterans in need of support.”
Many female veterans are reluctant to ask for assistance, according to Carrie. “These women are afraid to ask for help. It might be their pride, or if they have kids they might be worried they will be taken away.”
So Ms. Miller’s current focus is buying a Flint house to be that transitional home for female veterans. To buy this house she needs $50,000. Carrie does not think it should be difficult to raise $50,000 to find a home for 20 to 30 female veterans in Flint, where the need has been demonstrated. Unfortunately it has been very difficult and as of today her organization has only raised $165 in donations.
Our Home Transitional recently got a high-profile boost during Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván’s Sept. 24th appearance at the University of Michigan – Flint. Capt. Montalván, and his service dog Tuesday, were in Flint bringing attention to veteran’s issues. Capt. Montalván is the author of the bestselling book, “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him.”
Capt. Montalván said it is heartwarming that organizations like Our Home Transitional exist, but shameful that so little money has been raised to buy local female veterans’ their home.
Carrie Miller could not agree more. Anyone wishing to help Carrie give Flint-area female veterans a home can do so here.