The number of veterans in need is starting to rise again, says Stephen Peck, the President and CEO of the organization, U.S. Vets. The organization is making it a point to serve veterans after they've served their country with a new 300-bed facility in Los Angeles.
With a housing facility in Inglewood, U.S. Vets is funded through federal and local grants, but mostly through donations from the public. It is the largest non-profit of its kind in the country, providing housing services for homeless and at-risk veterans.
"I came here from down on Skid Row. And I was living in a box," said U.S. Army veteran," Bobby Lee Marshall. "And they nourished me, as a veteran, out of the ditch."
Marshall got into the drug and alcohol program three years ago. He says his connection to U.S. Vets may have saved his life considering where he thinks he would be without it. With the program, he has received his associate's degree and says it's because the non-profit cares.
"To say hey, you can have another chance. You served us, now let us serve you."
Every night across the country, U.S. Vets houses 3,000 veterans at a time and provides training for work programs.
"Since we have started 24 years ago, we've reduced the homeless population among veterans by 80 percent," Peck said.
Marie Muldrew-Buchanan was left homeless and a single mom of two after serving overseas in the U.S. Air Force.
"Me and my kids ended up couch surfing with families and friends," Muldrew-Buchanan said.
She says it got to the point where she would keep track of when the local mall's food court gave out free samples just so they could eat. Now, she's a case worker for the program that provided for her.
"You just have to pull something from your soul that you didn't think you had to survive it," she said.
As a veteran who served in the Marines in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, Peck takes it personal.
"Vets are family," he said. "We are bonded to each other."
And for Marshall, he's now the community gardener, helping plants stand just as strong as his brothers and sisters.