TYLER (KYTX) - Homeless veterans across the country are getting another $7.8 million for housing and support.
The money comes from the departments of Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development in the form of vouchers, called HUD-VASH vouchers. HUD-VASH stands for Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing.
"These veterans are coming off the street and they actually get vouchers to come into apartments where they will have living areas where they can call their own," says Andrews Center Certified Peer Counselor J.D. Collett.
Collett spends every day helping homeless vets get back on their feet. He says the first $60 million in government vouchers came last year.
"Our area was allotted 25 vouchers and that's a pretty good number for a city the size of Tyler," he says.
Housing units throughout East Texas accept the vouchers. Collett doesn't know whether our region will get any more from this new funding, but veteran Zeon Wilson is crossing his fingers.
"Once I got out of the Marine Corp. back in '98 it was a tough transition," Wilson says.
He was employed for a while, but hit tough times this March.
"I kind of went through hard turmoil, had some medical issues," he says.
He lost his job and his apartment, and turned to the streets.
"I was homeless, didn't have any family or anything, didn't know where to go, or what to do."
Finally, he found the Andrews Center in Tyler. He was put in one of four houses for homeless veterans, run by the VA.
"I've been out here a month and about a week now and things are going great for me. I'm in school at Tyler Junior College," Wilson says.
He gets to stay in the veterans home for nine months and hopes for a HUD-VASH voucher after that.
"Guys like myself and others are on the waiting list. Hopefully more will come down."
He says veteran homelessness may be down from last year, but it's still an enormous issue.
"There's a lot of guys out there that do need help."
THe recent flow of government funding gives him hope.
"The fact that we took on the honor to don a uniform, it makes me feel as though we are appreciated," he says.
Wilson says one of the main problems is that the people living on the streets don't have enough information.
He hopes veterans in need will reach out to places like the Green Zone, which has couples groups, career groups, PTSD groups, and much more.
To learn more about the Green Zone, or for more information about local veteran's resources, click here: