Long Beach

U.S. Veteran Campus in Long Beach Helps House Hundreds of Veterans

The U.S. Veteran Campus in Long Beach is helping house hundreds of homeless veterans in both temporary and permanent housing.

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Homeless veterans on LA streets are seeing a decline in numbers since the latest homeless count came out.

The U.S. Vets Community Campus in Long Beach is taking some of the credit for what it's been able to do to help house hundreds in both temporary and permanent housing.

It's a plan they hope to move to the West LA VA as well.

"Where I was living, the rent went up, the money ran out," said Patrick Henderson a retired U.S. Army veteran.

A jingling sound of keys is a new one for Henderson. He has a home now after living on the streets in Long Beach first in his car.

"After about six months my car got impounded when I wasn't there, left me totally on the street," Henderson said. "I slept on benches, I slept in parks."

Henderson now lives and works on the U.S. Vets Long Beach Campus. It's a 25-acre property off the 710 freeway that offers wrap-around services of job training, drug addiction recovery and more for veterans and their families experiencing homelessness or at risk of it.

It looks and feels like a college campus and could soon be similar project at the West LA Veterans Association site where years of homeless encampments turned into tiny homes.

Organizers say the plans works.

"Yes, we've made progress but there's still a lot of work to be done," said Larry Williams the executive director of the U.S. Vets Long Beach.

Williams says the continued downward numbers in veterans living on LA streets is a testament to communities being able to march alongside programs like this.

"Our biggest partner is the city of Long Beach, actually, the constituents. They're a part of this collaboration. This is a community issue," Williams said.

U.S. Vets has outreach teams that seek out veterans living on the street nationwide. But connections can be made through the VA as well.

"They help you get to the point where you feel like you can make it in life," Henderson said. "I am making it. I feel joyful, happy and secure."

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