HOUSTON - While Veterans Day is on Saturday, many people celebrate the holiday on Friday. FOX 26 Houston is doing that all month long by partnering with the U.S. Vets organization again to help on their mission to end veteran homelessness.
U.S. Vets is the nation’s largest provider of services to those who serve our country. That’s why FOX 26 Houston is collaborating with the organization to bring awareness and fundraise for the cause.
"Homelessness and a veteran shouldn’t be in the same sentence," said veteran Vincent Oliver.
Many men and women who bravely served our country find themselves sleeping on the streets they fought to protect.
"Across the board nationally, about 9% of homeless people are veterans," said David Traxler, the Executive Director of U.S. Vets.
Nathan Ochoa was deployed overseas as a part of the Marine Corps.
"I was out in Jordan and posted security for other military contractors," said Ochoa.
After returning home, he struggled to cope with past traumas.
"I quickly fell into a rabbit hole with some personal problems. It caused me to go from house to house and even, at some points, sleeping on the streets," said Ochoa.
Oliver served in the United States Army as a military police officer. When he returned home, things ran smoothly until he became unemployed.
"Recently I went through a season where I lost a job and became homeless," said Oliver. "I was basically in between living with relatives and sometimes actually not having anywhere to stay."
U.S. Vets worked with both men to provide housing and get them back on their feet.
"We do that through case management services, behavioral health services, and we have an amazing workforce department that does resume writing, job training, and job placement," said Traxler.
Thanks to the organizations' help, veterans can rebuild their lives.
"My life has changed dramatically. One, I’m sober from alcohol, which is a huge thing, and I’m kind of getting to know myself again," said Ochoa.
"Unfortunately, you have life issues that do certain things, but U.S. Vets is a great place to start over," said Oliver.
Some veterans said they were unaware of the resources available to them until they reached out to the VA. From there they were able to connect to the U.S. Vets organization and make a change for the better.