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Western New York Veterans Housing Coalition has combined efforts with Buffalo Blues Benefit for Veterans to create a Veterans Music campaign, designed to raise money by hosting concerts and through the sale of CD and merchandise. Funds raised from the Veterans Music campaign will be used to ensure that veterans always have access to housing. For 28 years, Western New York Veterans Housing Coalition has managed to help 15,000 veterans deal with issues pertaining to homelessness.

Currently this effort is growing, by bringing some of the top WNY blues and roots musicians together to play on stage, with one mission in mind.

“It’s a true regional team effort,” stated guitarist-producer Bob James, who has been working with promoters, Buffalo-area artists, engineers/studios, graphic designers, radio, recording studios and music venues, to ensure that the productions are top notch.

The key to success so far are the helpers who have brought measurable assets to the table. Ideas without action have little value. That’s the real lesson.”

“People see the bands and venues as the face of Buffalo Blues. That’s true. But behind the scenes its Rick Suto corralling over 20 sponsors, Gurney Becker & Bourne and Rucker Lumber providing building materials for the Tiny House, and doors being opened by Sam Hoyt [Empire State Development], and the front line staff of Mayor Brown and County Executive Poloncarz that are the fuel, the wheels on the bus.”

“These concerts are a great way for the public to support our veterans and help to ensure that none of the men or women who’ve served our country are without housing. They have sacrificed for us, and we are proud to work with Bob James and Buffalo Blues for Veterans to support this cause,” said David Shenk, Director of the Erie County Veterans Service Agency. “Their efforts have already raised over $6,000 for the WNY Veterans Housing Coalition and we look forward to helping them spread the word and boost that number.”

To add to the excitement of this campaign, an additional effort is underway that will see tiny houses built for veterans who cannot afford to live in standard sized homes. Often times, a veteran wants to live in a house (not an apartment building), but might not have a family. In that case, there should be options available that would allow the veteran to achieve home ownership status, without the headache and hardship of owning a multiple bedroom house.

“‘TINY HOUSE 4 VETS’ has students designing and building a tiny house for auction at Larkin Square with proceeds going to the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY,” said James. “These merged veterans benefit projects, are being built by the local music and arts community. What’s unique, I think, is that both of these projects are from the WNY music/arts/student community, but are looking outside and delivering benefits beyond music and arts.

“This satisfies several learning objectives,” said James. “It gives students direct, hands-on work experience in career skills, networking, community service, social issues, marketing, promotion, veterans needs, and meeting real-world deadlines while collaborating across different schools and organizations. Being supported by a group of WNY original musicians adds to the appeal.”

“This is an excellent opportunity for the next generation to learn about the Veteran Community while also supporting our mission of empowering WNY Veterans in a unique way,” stated Roger L. Woodworth, President & CEO of the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY. “We are pleased to be working with such a diverse and creative team on this initiative.”