New homeless veterans housing facility coming soon

February 9, 2012 4:20:40 PM PST
It's a place to call home for men and women who have proudly served this country. A new housing development here in Houston will serve veterans in need.

John Sandel can't wait to get his own place, like this a small efficiency in midtown that's housing otherwise homeless veterans like him.

"I'm think this is a program that's really needed. Some times, a lot of people don't know about it and I think it needs to be said," the US Marine veteran said.

Right now, Sandel has a roommate and is one of 300 veterans living in the Midtown Terrace, a place for vets needing a home, job placement, and counseling. But it is busting at the seams because of need most don't even realize exists.

"They're proud of our veterans. They like to wave the flags when they come back. But they don't understand, I think, the long term commitment after somebody serves in the military the difficulties they have adjusting to civilian life," said Tom Mitchell, state director of the U.S.Vets.

But now, there is more help.

"This is a milestone and it is an important step," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.

Parker was at the Thursday groundbreaking for an additional 192-unit apartment building for veterans. The Terrace Street Plaza Apartments will give more than just a home to those in need.

Army Air Corp Airforce veteran Harold Utsler was among those watching the ceremony Thursday.

"My philosophy is that if this dies, this dies, and that's the only way to look at life," he said.

He flew 50 bombing raids during World War II and then again more in Korea but has outlived virtually all of his family.

"Where would you be without this place?" we asked Utsler.

"Homeless,I'd be homeless," he said.

So would so many others. But the hope is with more beds and more help, fewer of our nation's warriors will be left out in the cold.

The new project is being built by Cloudbreak Communities, which has similar facilties throughout the country. The counseling and other services will be managed by U.S.Vets with additional help from Goodwill.