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VA helps homeless veterans to find a place of their own

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2016, file photo, U.S. Navy veteran Stephen Matthews sits for a photograph in the bedroom of a relative's home in Warwick, R.I., where he and his family lived after being evicted from their home. Through federal assistance, Matthews received a voucher that would pay about two-thirds of his rent, and found a place to live in late December after a six-month search. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2016, file photo, U.S. Navy veteran Stephen Matthews sits for a photograph in the bedroom of a relative's home in Warwick, R.I., where he and his family lived after being evicted from their home. Through federal assistance, Matthews received a voucher that would pay about two-thirds of his rent, and found a place to live in late December after a six-month search. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)(WIBW)
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 1:27 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Passing by a homeless person on the street you may not realize that many served this country in the military.

PTSD and addiction have let some of them down paths they never imagined.

The Veterans Affairs Administration is reaching out to help Mississippi's homeless veterans with treatment and a place to call home.

George Nicholas is a veteran who was homeless in 2018 struggling with an addiction to crystal meth.

“I was living in my truck,” said Nicholas. “All my clothes and stuff were in it.”

The 43 year old is a veteran who was homeless in 2018 struggling with an addiction to crystal meth.

“It was hard because I was begging,” said the recovering veteran. “I wasn’t working, and I was begging people to feed me or do what ever I can to make a dollar.”

In 2007, at age 31 he joined the Army National Guard and was in the infantry during Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

After serving he fell into addiction and ended up being arrested. He has PTSD and while in jail a VA representative contacted him, guiding him to programs that helped him get clean and find housing while undergoing treatment.

Veterans Affairs has awarded grants totaling $2 million dollars to provide transitional housing and supportive services for homeless veterans.

The Grant Per Diem Program offers funding to community agencies that help veterans experiencing homelessness, including mental illness.

“I have stability in my life now,” said Nicholas. “I have a roof over my head, clothes and a new car. It changed gratefully.”

The Hattiesburg resident is now employed full time, has a better relationship with his family, continues treatment and reaches out to other vets.

"There is plenty of help out there for us veterans," added Nicholas.

The Veterans Affairs Administration reports that homelessness among veterans nationwide has decreased by 50 percent since 2010 through the GPD and other programs.

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.

Original Story: https://www.wlbt.com/2020/08/25/va-helps-homeless-veterans-find-place-their-own/

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