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Illinois Homeless Vets Get Help Finding Homes

They're called America's heroes..But for years, tens of thousands of vets have lived on the streets. Tonight... New numbers show the problem has been nearly cut in half over the past four years... Thanks to some help from the feds... And group homes here in Illinois.

ILLINOIS -- They're called America’s Heroes. But for years, tens of thousands of vets have lived on the streets.     Tonight, new numbers show the problem has been nearly cut in half over the past four years. Thanks to some help from the feds and group homes here in Illinois.

 

Three decades after leaving the Navy, Rex Betts still hasn't found his spot in civilian life.

 

"I'd just never been able to settle into the what would be the norm,” Betts says. “The white picket fence, 9 to 5."

 

Even though he had an apartment through the salvation army, he came to the Spring Renaissance Veterans Home because he needed more help.

 

"Depression being one of them. If I'm not interacting with people the way I need to, I can fall into a dull drab space."

Leaving the service, he lost structure and found himself abusing alcohol or worse.

 

"I made some wrong choices. I've been incarcerated."

 

The home provides him with a chance to rebuild.

 

 Penny Harris / Executive Director, Spring St. Veterans Renaissance

"We were serving veterans but veterans had different needs," Executive Director of Spring St. Veterans Renaissance Penny Harris says.

 

They say veterans deal with particular issues like PTSD. And they recover better together.

 

“There is a camaraderie that comes naturally with people that have been in the military regardless of what branch."

 

The federal government helps support the home. In the last four years, aggressive campaigns have reduced the homeless population by almost half.

 

"They have served and protected our country and one homeless veteran is too many."

 

For vets like Betts, he knows this is his best chance.

 

"I have a two-year window to literally truly change my life."

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