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North Carolina program helps put veterans into homes after service

WTCI

GREENVILLE, North Carolina (WCTI) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates more than 39,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. A program in North Carolina's Pitt County is working to decrease that number.

"You know, you come home and you think, 'well, I served my country but I can't even get a job. I can't find no housing'," said Kim Coy, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran.

The Greenville Housing Authority changed that for Coy. They provide veteran affairs supportive housing vouchers, also known as Hud-Vash Program.

"They do a service for us, they serve our country," said Wayman A. Williams, executive director/CEO of the GHA. "And we talk about honoring their services but quite often, when veterans come back, they have a hard time being integrated back into civilian life, and quite often they're in need of housing."

Recently, GHA broke ground on Honor Ridge, a housing development specifically for veterans who receive voucher assistance. After leaving the Coast Guard in 2010, Coy went to pharmacy school. When she moved to Greenville last year, it was difficult to find a job right away. There were even some nights she and her two children slept in their car.

Through Veterans Affairs, she found out about the Hud-Vash Program, which helped her move into a townhouse. She's no longer stressing about finding a place to live and she's now focused on her goal of becoming a pharmacy technician.

"As far as being a veteran and mental issues and depression, it'll make you feel really, really bad because you don't know how you're gonna provide for the next day," Coy said. "But being able to find out about this program, it lifts your spirits a lot. It makes you realize ... it's amazing that people still care for you."

Once the new housing development is completed in January, Coy said she's interested in moving her family there. She's excited about a development made for people that overcame some of the same obstacles she did.

Honor Ridge will have 98 housing units and the first phase of construction is set to be finished by January. The remaining two phases should be finished within the next two years.

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