Skip to Content

Homeless Veterans License Plate Program Needs Your Help

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Homeless Veterans License Plate Program Needs Your Help

A specialty veterans license plate program designed to fund transitional housing for homeless veterans is falling short of its goal and running out of time.

Cookeville native and U.S. Marine Veteran Patrick McClellan said the program requires 1,000 plates be preordered by June 20 for production and distribution of the plates to begin. He said with six weeks to go in the year-long campaign, he is hundreds of orders shy of that goal. McClellan said he believes despite his marketing efforts, many people still do not know the plates exist.

“We would pretty much be back to square one as far as our funding is concerned,” McClellan said. “Because, it does take quite a bit of money, as you can imagine, you know, to build houses or even tiny homes, or even to purchase land. And you have to have some type of revenue streams.”

McClellan said he targeted people with the standard, navy blue Tennessee license plates that do not help fund social services. He said for each $70 plate preordered, $35 would go toward funding housing. He said he expected a stronger push but believes that part of the challenge has been the homeless veterans’ inability to contribute financially.

“A lot of people have specialty plates, but they may not know the actually not-for-profit or the cause behind the current plate that they have,” McClellan said. “They’re paying for the plate maybe because they like the aesthetics of the plate, but not necessarily because they know who gets the money and how that money’s spent as far as whoever started that specialty plate.”

He said there are some 450,000 veterans in Tennessee, 700 of them homeless. He said that number is some 100 veterans higher than it was last year and is expected to continue to rise. He said he has tried numerous marketing strategies including social media posts and billboards, but even renting billboard space for a few months can cost thousands from his personal funds.

“A lot to it is our marketing also, so I can’t just blame it on the people,” McClellan said. “I think just getting the word out is the hardest part and especially living in Cookeville area, much smaller than, you know, a larger city such as Nashville or Memphis or Chattanooga.”

He said down the home stretch, he remains hopeful that people will spread the word about the worthy cause and that he can find a way to make the goal a reality.

“Tell you neighbors and you friends,” McClellan said. “If you know somebody, and everybody does, that has a blue license plate, there’s dozens of them in your church parking lot, you can make an announcement there, you can let your coworkers know, you can post it on your social media, and just let everybody know.”


The post Homeless Veterans License Plate Program Needs Your Help appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.