TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- Marine Corps veteran and California Army National Guard soldier, Andy Mejorado, says he's well on his way to independence after getting help from the Tierney Center for Veteran Services when he was homeless and unemployed.
Mejorado was going through a difficult time when he found himself homeless in 2019.
"I was in my car for quite a bit," Mejorado said.
This after serving his country, getting his associate's degree and transferring to Cal State University, Fullerton. When he took a semester off, he lost eligibility for the GI Bill, which means he lost his source of income, too.
However, persistence and a lesson he learned in the military kept Mejorado going.
"This is the reality I'm going through right now, but it's not necessarily going to be the reality I will be experiencing next week, or a month from now, or a year from now," Mejorado said.
At the Tierney Center for Veteran Services, Mejorado got help with housing, training and employment with a private security company as an armed guard.
"It's very familiar and it kind of feels safe. I'm not sure if that's because it's something I felt proud of doing before," Mejorado said.
The Tierney Center is part of the Orange County Veterans Initiative, which has reached nearly 30,000 individuals and families.
The Orange County Community Foundation launched the program in 2015, and gives grants to nonprofits working together to create a one-stop shop of resources for veterans.
Carol Ferguson, the Director of Donor and Community Engagement with the OC Community Foundation, says the whole purpose is to make sure veterans have a space once they come back from service.
Mejorado said three years after turning to the Tierney Center, he felt he was well on his way as he earned the certificates and experience necessary to promote.
"Higher positions would mean that I would no longer be eligible for HUD-VASH, but that does mean that I could stand on my own and become more independent again," Mejorado said.
Mejorado says he plans to go back to school to finish his bachelor's degree. He's only 12 credits away.