Raleigh non-profit aims to curb veteran homelessness

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh non-profit is working to curb veteran homelessness by providing a community for former members of the armed forces.

Too many veterans are ending up on the streets. Army veteran Michael White said he lived in storage nuits and shelters on alternating days for about a year.

Now White has an apartment thanks to the Raleigh non-profit CASA.

“I can sit here and know that I don’t have a thing to worry about other than paying rent. Everyone here gets along with everyone else everyone here will do anything for anyone else,” White said.

“When they come back home, they should be able to have an apartment they should not be sleeping in a car or in a tent or in a homeless shelter,” said CASA CEO Mary Jean Seyda.

CASA helps place people who are homeless. Some of their clients live at an apartment complex near the VA in Raleigh. It was built especially for veterans.

“So, when I think what we can do to give back, it’s very emotional. It’s very personal, and for many of the staff it’s like that also,” Seyda said.

There was also plenty of emotion as an apartment became available for Navy veteran Tremayne Henderson.

“It’s going to be a great benefit to me because I go to Wake Tech and I’ll be living right across the street, so it’ll be great,” Henderson said.

The 44-year-old is studying to be an X-ray technician. He said that without this help, he wouldn’t be able to take those courses. But, Henderson also said that a lot of people just aren’t aware of the nearly 37,000 veterans across the country experiencing homelessness at any given time.

“They just see us as veterans, you know, and, ‘Oh, thank you for your service.’ But do you really know what we went through and do you know how it is for a veteran to be homeless?” he asked.

Providing long term living isn’t cheap. Non-profits like CASA are constantly looking for government funding and grants as well as private financial support

“So, once we have these up, how to sustain them? Just like every other landlord in town, we have the same expenses, yet our rents, we’re only getting $200 in rent instead of $800 or $1000, so we kind of need to fill that gap,” Seyda said.

So veterans like White and Henderson receive more than just a “thank you.”

“We should be able to do better by providing what we see as basic necessities because they were protecting us,” Seyda said.

CASA owns an additional six acres of land near the Raleigh VA. They are currently raising funds to build another apartment complex with around 100 units.

Click here to learn more about CASA.

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