Yuma Veteran Speaks Out About His Struggle with Homelessness
Story by Felicia Martinez, Weekend Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
YUMA, AZ - Service men and women struggling everyday in America just to make ends meet, and many of them are homeless.
Cecil Bright is a Vietnam Veteran. He served 13 years in the Army and has battled homelessness for over a decade. He says, "I don't blame the military, I blame society."
Bright says despite his struggles with finding food and a place to call home he works hard at the Crossroads Mission this Veteran's holiday in order to have a roof over his head. He tells News 13, if I had my way I'd have a high rise with all the veterans but I don't have the funds the VA don't either. After Vietnam we lost everything and we are still struggle to get them back 30 years later."
It is at Crossroads Mission veterans like Cecil receive assistance, but although the shelter does a lot for homeless veterans there are limits as to how long they can stay in the shelter. Putting vets back on the streets. The Vietnam vet says "This is my last month I have to find somewhere else to go. Where does a vet go? I have social security and trying to work with $700 a month, you can't live on that. You can't find a place to live, I check everyday in the paper."
With the Veteran Affairs 28 million dollar homeless providers grant and per diem program many local vets are now receiving a permanent roof over their head. Barbara Rochester with Crossroads Mission says with the VA grant they have been able to help house 20 veterans. She says they're currently working to find homes for nearly a dozen more. She says, "The Crossroads Mission donates the beds the blankets the furniture and everything they need and make sure their home is complete."
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs on a single night a national count of homeless veterans totaled over 67 thousand, a 12% decrease since 2010. With the combined effort from the shelter and the VA hope is on the horizon for our nations heroes.
As For Cecil, she says Thank god for Crossroads Mission. I know that if not I'd be out there in the cold even though I have to leave in a month something will come up."
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