SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - There are as many as 1,600 military veterans who are homeless in San Diego. But there is an action plan in place to help them. One of their own is giving back to lend a hand to his brothers in arms.
James DeGuzman is proud of the place he’s been able to call home for two years.
"Coming where I came from, this is nice,” DeGuzman said.
DeGuzman once lived on the streets, like hundreds of other vets.
"What comes with homelessness, you're always looking behind your back."
After a career in the Navy, DeGuzman started his civilian life but lost his job, fell on hard times, and became homeless. It only went downhill from there. DeGuzman suffered a stroke and spent three months in the hospital. He left with a walker and still had no place to call home until he met Noble Robinson, a proud Vietnam veteran.
Robinson and his wife bought an apartment complex with one goal in mind: fix it up and use it exclusively to house nine homeless vets through the Housing Our Heroes initiative.
"This was ideal. This property right here was just ideal for the situation, for me personally,” Robinson said.
The building was a disaster when the Robinsons bought it. They did a complete overhaul to make it livable, installing new water heaters and heating units. Part of the work was funded by Housing Our Heroes.
Landlords like Robinson can receive numerous financial incentives for making their units available to homeless vets. But generosity is its own reward.
"I see the changes, I see great changes in the veterans that I have here,” said Robinson.
For some veterans, a portion of the rent can also be subsidized by other veterans organizations.
The life-changing experience has enabled DeGuzman to get a job at the VA, the same department he credits for helping him walk after his stroke. DeGuzman has also reconnected with his daughters.
Learn more about Housing our Heroes HERE.