More than $1 million goes to helping local vets and families avoid homelessness

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-12 18:57:32-04

In Hampton Roads, hundreds of veterans struggle every day to keep a roof over their heads.

Roy Kelly was one of them.

“Between trying to pay bills, I had to sell my car for us to eat, and we became homeless,” said Kelly.

It all started for this former Marine after he made a simple decision to change careers.

“I wanted to spend time with my kids,” said Kelly. ‘My son was getting older, and I wanted to be involved, and not have the streets raise him.”

Still, he didn't realize how hard it would be to find new a job and he lost his house last December.

“Just came to a point where I had to call a shelter,” said Kelly.

That shelter was run by the non-profit "For Kids."

In the past 18 months, they've helped 17 veterans and their families stay off the streets—but the need was much greater than what they could provide with their current funding.

“In a very short period of time, we had gotten at least 300 calls from vets in danger of being evicted or were homeless and needed assistance,” said Sharon Shoff, Director of Administrative Services for the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation.

The organization partnered with "For Kids" to apply for more Veterans Affairs funding, so they could help struggling veterans both homeless and about to be homeless.

This week, they discovered almost three-quarters of a million dollars would be headed their way, to help veterans like Kelly.

“It’s great, because there are lot of people homeless, and they are doing what they have to do, but now there are other organizations out there besides the VA that can help you,” said Kelly, who is finally moving out of the shelter with his kids on Tuesday. “We are going to our own apartment, it’s a duplex, buts it’s something. It’s ours.”

Roy hopes with more money, that these non-profits can help others like him.

“It gives me faith in our country, I know that much.”

The VA is also giving more than $200,000 to the Office of Human Affairs in Newport News, as well as Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project of Hampton Roads.

Combined with the funding given to the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation, more than 300 veterans and their families will be helped in the Hampton Roads Area.