AMVETS helping formerly homeless veterans with a home: Charity giving veterans furniture

San Diego - Several months ago, Army veteran Daniel Parker was living on the street with few prospects of anything improving.

"Being on the street, I couldn't get cleaned up to get a job," he told 10News. "It was a vicious circle."

Parker came full circle as he opened the door to an east San Diego apartment he can call his own thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However, there was a problem when he moved in.

"There wasn't anything in here," he said. "I slept on the floor with nothing, but now it feels more like a home," he said.  

That is thanks to American Veterans, or AMVETS, a charity with longtime ties to the VA. The charity did not recognize there was a problem until last summer.

"These veterans were moving in and there was nothing in the apartments, that's where we stepped in," said Charles Kissel, who is with AMVETS.

The charity started collecting couches, tables and chairs and bedroom furniture. It partnered with the VA to give the furniture to the veterans moving in off the streets.  

"We're only limited by what we take in," said Kissel. "We've helped about two dozen veterans so far but want to help thousands. That's our target."

The housing program is by voucher, an aggressive program by the VA to help meet the goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.

"It's their home," said Yolanda Sidoti, who is with the VA. "It's not a VA home we're letting them stay in. All they have to do is be current with their case managers to maintain that."

San Diego has an estimated 2,200 homeless veterans. To date, about 645 have been helped by the VA and HUD with permanent housing.

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