After spending two years on the streets, a Navy veteran got the keys to his new apartment in Arlington Wednesday.
Ernest Maas called the woods of Four Mile Run Park home for nearly three years. Thanks to donations and the help of a local non-profit, Maas has a warm place to call home.
Maas says everyday without a roof over his head proved to be a challenge, adding his life took a different direction when his health started to deteriorate.
"My back went out on me," the 61-year-old veteran explained.
The injury kept him from working at his labor-intensive job. With no job, there was no money to pay for the rent.
It's an all too common story for case managers at the Arlington Street People's Assistance Network (A-SPAN). The non-profit provides outreach services for the homeless of Arlington.
A-SPAN's Ashley Wilkerson tried to help Maas about a year ago, but she was met with some resistance.
But Maas eventually came around. After eight months of phone calls and paperwork, Maas qualified for a housing subsidy for veterans.
The donations kept coming in the form of furniture and art for the walls; some of the furniture was donated by "Operation Renewed Hope Foundation". No detail went unnoticed.
The generosity of others takes even greater meaning this Thanksgiving, especially for those in need.