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New Program Taking Action to Help Homeless Veterans

BLOOMINGTON - The Salvation Army is offering veterans in need the assistance to change their lives.
BLOOMINGTON - The United States Department of Veterans Affairs wants to end homelessness by the year 2015.

It says no service member should go without a safe place to call their own.

Now the Salvation Army in Bloomington is joining that effort with a new program helping veterans in need change their lives.

"Help serve the country, whatever they need,” said U.S. Veteran Barry Scott.

Scott got drafted to the service at the age of 19 where he spent three years overseas defending the nation's freedom.

"Different world, when you first get there,” said Scott.  “Like you’re dreaming.”

Recently, Scott fell on hard times with no place to call his own.

“Got to find another job.  Right now, I’m on disability.”

62 year old Louis Raystarr shares a similar story.

"I have a couple of tents I’m staying in right now,” said Raystarr.  “I’m an old boy scout, and a Vietnam vet, so you learn to deal with things as they come along.”

But the Salvation Army in Bloomington has good news for those in need.

It's just received a federal grant to help the men and women who've served.

"Received just under $1.6 million,” said Program Manager Jennifer Valade.  “With everything else going on in government, I can say that this is just an amazing opportunity that the government has provided."

Valade is working to provide supportive services for veteran families.

"The goal is to get them rapidly re-housed.  We can pay security deposits, we can pay rent, we can pay utilities,” Valade explained.  “We say, ‘Hey, if you're a landlord and you have rental properties’…what better way to serve and give back."

The program also assists former service members with education and employment opportunities.

"Veterans, they went to war and fought for this country, and your freedom and I think they deserve every bit that is out there,” said Raystarr.

A mission seeing to it no veteran is left behind.

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