Grant helps to end homelessness among veteran families

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - It's a harsh reality for our heroes: The spiral from homecoming to homeless.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, tens of thousands of veterans are calling the streets home.

It's a life former homeless veteran Terry Dawson can relate to.

"I hurt my back and just kind of lost my way from there," Dawson explained to FOX19's Jessica Brown.

Dawson served in Japan and California from 1978 until 1992, but when he got back things were different. He says he ended up homeless for several years.

"They are couch surfing from one family to another to another. They don't have a place of their own," said Bill Darnell, Goodwill's Grants Manager.

Darnell works with veterans like Dawson every day.

"Some people come back with mental illnesses and find the job they had before they left isn't there anymore due to the changes in economy," he explained.

Now, Darnell can help even more retired soldiers thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Goodwill will be getting $975,871 to continue helping homeless veterans get back on their feet, from giving them a temporary place to stay to connecting them with permanent residences and good jobs.

"This grant is the first grant that will actually help the families of the vet as well as the vet," said Darnell.

Dawson says turning to Goodwill helped turn his life around and hopes it can do the same for other veterans.

"I have my own money. I can do anything I want to do now, so life's good," said Dawson.

Dawson now works for Goodwill. The grant the agency received will benefit more than 300 veterans in the Cincinnati area.

Goodwill also received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Labor which will also help veterans find jobs.

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