INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- "I had nowhere to go. Homelessness. I was going to be homeless. And they told me there was a place for veterans here and I came here," Albert Nevarez said.
After serving in the Army and doing a stint in prison, Nevarez was faced with homelessness. His parole officer directed him to U.S. Vets in Inglewood.
"He said, 'Well I have a place for you to stay if you want to go there,' and I agreed and that same day, that same evening, I was here," Nevarez said.
The Inglewood location is the inaugural U.S. Vets site, starting with five Vietnam veterans when it opened in 1993. Today, it operates over 600 beds and hosts community events like their annual holiday dinner.
"I think most people come here, they don't know what to expect when they arrive and they see more than just your average organization providing housing," executive director Akilah Templeton said. "This is really a community."
Each night, almost 38 thousand veterans experience homelessness in the United States. That's roughly 9 percent of all homeless adults. The mission at U.S. Vets is to successfully transition military veterans and their families into homes.
"Inglewood is not a very big place, it's about 9 miles around," Templeton said. "And so, 500 homeless people requiring services in that space, it's quite a bit."
One of the challenges the organization has faced in the past is keeping veterans in homes once they've transitioned, which is why funding for a new program to help combat this has been so important.
"We can now actually stay connected with them once we discharge them and that is going to be I think very important," Templeton said.
Now that Albert has completed his program, he'll be moving into permanent housing next door, allowing him to stay connected to U.S. Vets.
"I'm moving out of the program now," Nevarez said. "So, I'm moving out of the transgressional home, into a permanent housing now for me. Without this place I wouldn't have gotten to this place."
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U.S. Vets in Inglewood helps to keep veterans and their families in permanent housing
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