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Triad Program Helps Homeless Veterans Find Homes

11:02 PM, Jul 15, 2013   |    comments
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Winston-Salem, NC -- More than 62,000 people who served our country, who put on the gear, fought in wars, and spent time away from their families to give us freedom, are homeless.

62,000 veterans in the United States are homeless. In North Carolina, there are more than 1,400 homeless veterans. 

But in just two years, the Veteran Administration hopes to see those numbers drop to zero.

WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower spoke with a veteran who was helped by a Triad organization working to end veteran homelessness.

"It does not make sense to have a veteran who is homeless in our community particularly because we as a nation have the resources and the wealth to make sure no one who has sacrificed in whatever way they have to serve our country has to live on our streets," said Andrea Kurtz, Senior Director, House Strategies, United Way of Forsyth County.

It might not make sense, but for Army Veteran Hiram Goines and his family, homelessness was a reality.

"One day we got a letter in the mail stating that we had to vacate the premises and we had like 4 days," explained Hiram Goines, a veteran.

Two months ago, Goines and his family were evicted after their landlord foreclosed. They did not have a place to go.

"I couldn't imagine my children being anywhere else other than a home," explained Shannon White, Goines' wife.

"We would probably be living in a shelter," said Goines.

Instead, they're living in a house in Winston-Salem.

Five years ago, the Veterans Administration set out to end veteran homelessness by 2015.

They started the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program to help veterans find homes and keep them by partnering with community organizations. The United Way of Forsyth County is one of them.

"We are very thankful for that program to be able to help us in such a short period of time," said Goines.

"I think it's very much a reality that we can end homelessness for veterans in our county," explained Kurtz.

Over the past two years, the United Way of Forsyth County has helped 200 veterans find or stay in their homes.

They were recently awarded an $820,000 to continue this program for the third year. With that money, and in just one year, Kurtz believes they can help 200 more veterans.

"It's giving us the tools as a service providing system to help people move into housing quickly," explained Kurtz.

"I'm getting that feeling of home," said Goines. "This is my house now."

Each veteran is assigned a social worker who helps them through their personal and economic concerns.

Kurtz says once a veteran is helped through this program, they have a 95% success rate of staying in a home. 

The United Way of Forsyth County partners with Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and the North Carolina Housing Foundation to provide this service to veterans across the Triad. 

WFMY News 2

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