YUMA, AZ - Ever since sacrificing his life fighting in the Vietnam War life has been a struggle for Cecil Bright. He tells News 13, "Finally a lot of us just gave up."
While Bright is no longer at war, today he is battling life on the streets and has been for the last 13 years. He says " When we came back from Vietnam War we were known as baby killers. They had nothing to do with us. They had no program for us. No educational benefits for us."
The former Army Pilot for the U.S. Army is not alone. Over 67,000 veterans are homeless according to a national count by Veteran Affairs. So, News 13 contacted the VA to find out what is being done to keep vets from being homeless.
So, we offer several different programs HUD VASH is more of a permanent support housing program and that is a combined effort with Housing Urban Development and VA and there is also other grants an per diem programs funded that are more about transitional housing programs for Veterans."
Veteran Affairs says HUD VASH is available to homeless veterans eligible for VA services. They say HUD VASH is more of a case management component and designed to target veterans most vulnerable medically and psychiatrically.
For Cecil Bright and other homeless vets like him waiting for such services has been a difficult road and for others it is too late. He says, "I don't know how many funerals I went to in the last 10 years. All of them veterans many who said look we have nothing out here. Nobody wants to help us anymore."
Currently 25 HUD VASH vouchers have been given in Yuma County and Veteran Affairs plans to add additional Vouchers in 2013.
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