An estimated 1,000 veterans will sleep on the streets or in homeless shelters in Arizona tonight, a number that could soon decrease with a new housing facility dedicated to veterans in north Phoenix.
On Thursday morning, nonprofit U.S.VETS and elected officials cut a ribbon to announce the new facility located near Interstate 17 and Cactus Road.
U.S.VETS was forced to vacate its previous location last year when the rent doubled. With help from Mayor Kate Gallego and the Phoenix City Council, the city invested $10.5 million to purchase and renovate the former hotel in north Phoenix.
In addition to housing, veterans in need will be able to receive individualized wraparound services, including health care, counseling and skills training that allows veterans to take what they learned in the service and apply it to civilian jobs.
“We have an outreach team, you call us and we’re going to go get our veterans and we’ll give their immediate needs – shelter, food, clothing, a warm place to sleep,” Michelle Jameson, executive director of U.S.VETS in Phoenix, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.
Since 2001, U.S.VETS in Phoenix has assisted more than 10,000 veterans, providing housing, workforce development and case management services.
Marine Corps veteran Samuel Coggins is one of them. He came into the U.S.VETS program in May.
“Because of U.S. VETS giving me assistance and hand ups, not handouts – I was able to go through with a job interview and land the job and now I have a job that I love,” Coggins said.
Coggins now works in a veterinary office in Scottsdale and works to help other veterans get off the streets and on their feet.
This story was originally published by KTAR News here.