Unforgotten Veterans of Cenla helping reestablish veterans

Unfortunately, after returning home from war, some veterans find themselves homeless, but there is a local organization helping those vets.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Transition in Place, or TIP, program is a partnership between the VA Hospital and Unforgotten Veterans of Cenla.

Veterans are thrown parades, and given special days to honor them, but many veterans face a different reality, homelessness. But, there is an organization in Central Louisiana dedicated to lifting veterans out of homelessness and giving them the resources they need.

The TIP program is helping homeless veterans get back on their feet by finding success in recovery, navigating services available to them and setting up work and housing.

The program lasts between six months and a year. At the end of that period, if the veteran has become self-sufficient, they are able to then take over the lease and continue on their path to success.

Shelia Brown, assistant director of UVOC, said medical services, financial help and a place to live are great, but she loves watching a veteran turn their tragedy into a triumph. She shared a recent success story of a veteran who was determined to work in law enforcement after originally being turned down.

“He did not give up,” said Brown. “He finally decided to go to the prison, and today he is working for the State of Louisiana, one of the prisons.”

Advocates say after serving and protecting their country, veterans can have a hard time asking for help. Case manager Marilyn Jones said many times it starts off slow, but establishing trust helps propel them through the program.

“As time goes on and you start giving them that type of assistance, that is when you get it,” said Jones. “That is when you get that trust and know that they are going to assist you.”

It is estimated that there are close to 400 homeless vets across the state. This is a number that UVOC is working every day to reduce.

“Most of the participants are overwhelmed about the apartments,” said Damien Baker, benefits coordinator. “I have seen multiple participants just breakdown, just so happy to live somewhere that is so nice like this.”

For more information on UVOC, CLICK HERE.

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