April 13, 2024

Homeless and veteran—two words that should never belong in the same sentence, according to Davante Goins, CEO, president, and founder of “Operation 4 Homeless Veterans Inc.”

            Goins, 18, a Wittenberg freshman, was inspired by his late grandmother’s stories about his grandfather, a late Vietnam war veteran. Although Goins’ grandfather was not homeless, he was still disrespected upon returning home to the United States.

            Goins said that his grandfather’s mistreatment was the main reason for his four-legged plan for the nonprofit organization: housing affairs, employment/education, psychological development, and reuniting with family.

            “Our mission is to get homeless veterans off the streets with the help of support systems,” said Goins. “It is criminal for a veteran to be homeless.”

            Goins came up with his original nonprofit plan—an organization for all homeless—his freshman year at Mifflin High School in Columbus, Ohio.

            He presented the idea at the Columbus Rotary Club’s “Service Above Self” fair. The idea did not come in the top three at that event, however Goins gained advice throughout the next year to narrow the organization’s focus to just homeless veterans.

            The bulk of the work for the organization began at the start of Goins’ sophomore year. He began setting the blueprint, filling out paperwork, figuring out logistics, setting up a Board of Directors, and gaining support from the media, including NBC 4. Goins even sent letters to Oprah, President Obama, and Gordan Gee.

            “I’m just one person getting attention from the media,” said Goins. “There are so many great ideas out there—the media just latched on to mine.”

            However at the end of his sophomore year, Goins, then 15, was forced to put the brakes on much of the planning and media attention because of family issues and slipping grades.

            Plans picked up again during his junior year, after he had switched to an online school, and have since been in process to obtain grant money and become a tax-exempt nonprofit organization by the end of this year.

            “Operation 4 Homeless Veterans Inc.” has not yet put a veteran into a home, but Goins said he would like to accomplish this soon, after a selection process where Goins himself will get to know each candidate.

            “We have got the conversation stated, we now just have to move toward the brick and mortar,” said Goins. “I went from the man with the idea to the man with the plan, now I just have to be the man who has helped a veteran.”

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