One veteran in D.C. has dedicated his efforts to helping female veterans find a place to live.
Of all of the houses in Washington, D.C., this has to be one of Cecil Byrd’s favorites.
“This is a 13 bedroom facility and it’s going to be for female veterans and their families,” Byrd says. He’s been working to turn two houses in Northeast into transitional housing for 19 female veterans. It’s a labor of love from one veteran to another.
“We ran out of money here, so my wife said I had to get another job or I’d have to quit,” Byrd says, smiling.
Quitting wasn’t an option, so Byrd picked up another job at the University of the District of Columbia. In addition to his paying gig, Byrd runs the National Association of Concerned Veterans – a non-profit aimed at helping struggling veterans get back on their feet after their service. Byrd says the Northeast project has seen a series of potential roadblocks.
“The city shut us down –we had permit issues. We had finance issues. I mean, every kind of problem you can think of,” Byrd says. But thanks to donations from organizations such as the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, Home Depot and others, project is nearing its final phase.
“When you are a part of that giving, that’s a wonderful feeling,” says David Walker, President & CEO of Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.
Wednesday, Walker presented Byrd with a $5,000 check, in addition to more than $47,000 already donated.
Home Depot awarded the project $35,000 and hundreds of volunteers. The impact has been substantial, and integral. Byrd says the project couldn’t have been completed without the extra funding.
“I'm getting ready to jump for joy,” Byrd says. “I don't know what it is, maybe the stars are aligning, but this is great.”
Byrd hopes to have the female veterans moved in by mid-November.