JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – According to U.S. data, on a single night in January of last year there were more than 47 thousand veterans living on the street or in a shelter in the U.S.
Last year at this time, 17 veterans lived on the streets of Onslow County.
With wintry weather one organization will not stop until every homeless vet is cared for.
Family Endeavors, a national non-profit organization in Jacksonville aims to decrease the number of homeless vets on the streets.
The organization stepped in Thursday night when the Onslow Community Outreach reached its capacity and began turning people away, including veterans.
“With the veterans we’ve seen a huge influx of calls coming in due to the weather and whenever there is not available shelter what the case managers do is we reach out to other resources,” said Dana Painter, the Site Coordinator for Jacksonville’s Family Endeavors.
WNCT met with them Thursday as they were working on Danny Collins” case.
Collins is a veteran who served seven years in the Marine Corps and he got out last year in April.
After completing construction school, Collins landed a well-paying job but was shortly laid off and later became homeless.
He says it was hard for him to reach out to family endeavors for assistance….
“I have to reach pretty deep down to keep going, when it’s cold outside and you have a blanket in the car you don’t think you can do it just have to smile some kind of way,” said the homeless veteran.
Family Endeavors is making sure Collins have food in his stomach and a roof over his head. They have provided him a hotel for the night. .
“He’ll be able to have a nice hot meal and get a good night’s rest,” said the Shift Supervisor at Sleep Inn in Jacksonville, Ron Jordan.
The program also helps veterans get back on their feet by enrolling them in a 90 day program to assist them in finding jobs and a home.
Collins says at the end of the day, “What’s keeping me going, the things I learned while I was in the Marine Corps, you get put through a lot of tests while you’re in and stay humble, I’ve been pretty humble about the whole situation trying to keep going and stay positive.”
Family Endeavors was awarded about two million dollars from the VA to help cover the expenses of caring for the homeless veterans. Some of that money also goes to help those at risk of becoming homeless before it’s too late.
Family Endeavors also has locations to serve homeless veterans across the country, and in North Carolina they have offices in Charlotte and Fayetteville.