Homeless Veteran Looking Forward to Aid

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

HARRISONBURG -- As part of President Barack Obama's push to help homeless veterans, the Department of Veterans affairs and the Housing and Urban Development will provide more than one thousand homeless veterans with aid they are in need of.

"I will probably sleep in my car like I slept last night," said David Artist, who is a homeless veteran.

Artist served in the army for two years.

He was evicted from his home Wednesday night. He is unemployed and is living off disability benefits.

"It's is not enough to live on. It's just virtually impossible, so that's how I got homeless," said Artist.

Artist is now one of approximately 18 homeless veterans living in the Valley.

They could be eligible for vouchers thanks to the new plan.

"And so these vouchers provide rental assistance payment, so that the participant pays no more than 30 percent of their income to pay for their housing needs," said Michael G. Wong, who is the Executive Director of HRHA.

For Artist, that aid may take too long. He's already applied for a housing voucher and is on a waiting list.

According to Wong, the vouchers may not be available to veterans in the area until early next year.

VFW Post Commander Michel Nicholas called the Salvation Army to see if it could provide Artist with shelter for tonight, but they said they were all full.

"And there is no room for a homeless veteran right now in the Salvation Army?," asked Nicolas.

"No, we have no beds open right now," said a representative with the Salvation Army.

"I am a survivor and I will survive. I'll get pass this and I know I will," said Artist.

He is hoping the housing vouchers will be provided sooner than later.
Artist plans to travel to West Virginia to seek help from veterans in that area.

The VFW Post 632 will provide him with dinner Thursday night.
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