It’s an ongoing problem in North Carolina – veterans fight for our freedom and then wind up on the streets when they return home.
But one Triangle agency is trying to help homeless veterans.
“I was homeless up until now.” Stanley Branch Sr said. “I was stationed at Fort Meade Maryland right outside of Washington, D.C., and then I was deployed to Germany.”
He came home after five years of service. But with little work and no money, Branch said he had no where to go.
“I could remember sleeping on the ground, in parks, in abandoned houses in my work van at one time,” he said.
It’s a common story.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs the number of homeless veterans continues to rise in North Carolina.
In 2013 alone there was almost 9,000
“They served us and our country so when they come back home we should be providing something for them.” said Mary Jean Seyda with CASA, a Raleigh-based agency that builds apartments for veterans.
“They may have disability income through social security they may have veterans benefits through the VA and they only pay 30 percent of the income for the rent.” Seyda said.
In 2013, CASA opened their first apartment community specifically serving veterans. While CASA’s apartments have always served veterans – men, women, and families – who have struggled with homelessness, this was the first effort specifically designated for veterans.
‘I had given up hope completely but things can change and hope is now restored in my life” Branch said.
CASA plans to break ground on another group of homes for veterans this summer.
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