Spokane reaches milestone in ending veteran homelessness - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane reaches milestone in ending veteran homelessness

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The City of Spokane announced reaching a milestone in its efforts to end veteran homelessness. The City of Spokane announced reaching a milestone in its efforts to end veteran homelessness.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The City of Spokane announced its reached a milestone in its efforts to end veteran homelessness.

In February, the city launched the “Homes for Spokane’s Heroes” initiative working to end veteran homelessness. Monday, they announced they’ve found housing for 177 vets as of this week. After a Point-in-Time survey taken this past January, the VA estimates 256 veterans are expected to become homeless this year in our region.

While they acknowledge the good work, they say there is still work to be done. There are dozens of agencies and programs in our community helping the cause. KHQ spoke with Steve Smith who says he’s grateful he found help.

Smith doesn't have very many keepsakes left except for high school yearbooks. He was homeless for seven months, but now has found help from the Volunteers of America and is living in this apartment.

“I love all the people that come in there and get help like I needed help when the Volunteers of America saved me. They saved my life,” he says.

Smith served in Vietnam when he was 19.

“I volunteered to go. I didn't have to go. I wanted to go because there was something I wanted to do.”

He patrolled the rivers, something he says was scary.

He started a family when he got back in 1972, but a few years ago, fell on hard times. He ended up at the Union Gospel Mission, where he saw an ad on the bulletin board that connected him to help and the VOA.

“They picked me up, dusted me off,” he says.

Smith says other homeless vets can access these services too. “That’s the problem we're having right now finding homeless vets, having them come forward.”

Now, he's volunteering his time with the Volunteers of America.

“I’m trying to give back to them for working at the food bank and treating people the way i was treated when I was homeless.”

If you know of a vet who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, you can call 509-828-2449 in Spokane or call 208-292-0292 if you’re in Idaho. 

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