Helping homeless veterans

By Tracey Amick  bio | email

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Thousands of people in the Charleston area are on the streets; many of them are veterans. Thursday the VA hospital and Goodwill hosted the 10th annual Stand Down Against Homelessness.

Barbara Henry had been a soldier, serving in the military from 1981 to 1992. Once she got out, she dealt with her new hectic work schedule by turning to crack cocaine.

The addiction  made her lose her job. "Of course it comes with stealing, lying, prostitution any kind of way you could get it," Henry said.

She was homeless on the streets for more than 10 years until she called the suicide hotline. They suggested she go to the Ralph Johnson VA hospital for help. She enrolled in the substance abuse program for veterans.

"After a while you hear other stories and say I can relate to that," Henry said.

Now she's volunteering at Stand Down Against Homelessness to help other veterans and homeless people.

The event provides everything from food, dental care, foot care and haircuts, to legal help. They're providing undergarments and vouchers from Goodwill and even blankets and sleeping bags making life on the streets easier.

There are even free books, and help for those battling addiction, like Henry.

"It's an every day battle, you may recover from disease but its still in your mind," Henry said.

She's been clean for six months and she says she'll stay that way.

There are also services to help the homeless get off the streets and into their own permanent home.

The Stand Down Against Homelessness continues Friday from 8 am until 1 pm. It's at Armory park in North Charleston on Lackawanna off of Montague.

Thursday, more than 1,400 people were helped. Last year, they helped 900 the first day.

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