More than 40,000 veterans across the nation are homeless, but in Massachusetts some of them are also artists, slowly making a living by sketching and painting.
The talent was noticed by Boston-based company ArtLifting, who partners with shelters to give the homeless a marketplace and that is not the only artists they help.
"Artists who are homeless, who have disabilities, some artists are veterans," co-founder Liz Powers said. "We have a really broad mission."
U.S. & World
One of the veterans they are helping is Stacey Williams. She was an Airman First Class and has spent her share of time in a shelter.
"For me when I came out I was technically homeless," Williams said. "Just feeling a lot of shame after being in the shelter for two to three months."
For Williams, painting was a way of healing in between the job searching. She just had no idea painting could turn into a living, but that is where ArtLifting came in.
All of the pieces are curated and all of the profits are shared. ArtLifting works with more than 100 artists across 16 different states. Some of the originals have been sold for tens of thousands of dollars.
"Every time I've made a sale from my very first sale I always cry," Williams said.
Williams is saving money for a studio of her own, but the veteran says the real gift is the sense of pride she feels again armed with nothing more than a paintbrush.
To find out more about ArtLifting, visit their website.