WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 29, 2013, 09:56 PM

Number of homeless veterans is on the rise in North Dakota

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- The number of homeless veterans is on the rise in North Dakota.

By: Kayla Strayer, WDAZ, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- The number of homeless veterans is on the rise in North Dakota.

Today, a local motorcycle club decided to do something about it.

Motorcyclists take a ride for homeless vets.

Jim Hanson- Veteran: They stood tall for our country, so it's about time we stood tall for them.

Ellen Mckinnon- Works With Homeless Vets: It's unfathomable sometimes to even wrap your head around that phrase homeless veteran.

Dozens of bikers with the Spirit Lake Riders club left from Fargo and Devils Lake this morning, to meet up here at their clubhouse in Aneta.

Craig Bjorland- Spirit Lake Riders: I think this is one of our better charities that we've put on.

Michael Carbone represents the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People. He says the number of homeless vets in the state is on the rise, but so is the call for help.

Michael Carbon- ND Coalition For Homeless People: We're just ging to keep continuing the fight. And try to end veterans homelessness by 2015.

Ellen McKinnon helped organizer today's fundraiser. While working with homeless vets through the Salvation Army, she uses art as a tool for them to open up.

Ellen: They just become swallowed up in their own grief or their own visions of things that are haunting them.

This painting was done by a homeless veteran to help him cope with memories of war. Any money raised from paintings like this goes back to the artist.

Ellen: It's very interesting their interpretation of things and it's very therapeutic for them to talk about it.

McKinnon says low education, poor mental health and the economy are just a few of the reasons why veterans become homeless. She says raising awareness is the key to fixing the problem.

Ellen: We'll continue the fight as long as we can. This is the land of the free but we are still homing the brave.

Michael: Supporting the troops means more than just supporting the mission. But it means supporting the troops once they get back.

Organizers say they raised about 1,500 dollars today. They plan to make this an annual event.