Homeless veteran ‘blessed’ to be off streets thanks to apartment program

Apartment complex for homeless veterans opens

VACAVILLE, CA (KOVR/CNN) - Some homeless military veterans in a Northern California city are getting a place to call home.

At Rocky Hill Apartments in Vacaville, south of Sacramento, 39 units are set aside for veterans, many of them formerly homeless.

"I love it. It's quiet. Everybody's kind. It's been really nice,” said one man.

Tim Hillstrom and his dog Patty used to live on the street, but are now occupants of one of the units.

He said after three-and-a-half years living on the streets, it means so much just to have a bathroom.

"I used to have a bucket and a shopping bag,” he said. “That's what I used for a long time."

Money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs helps pay the rent. Project developers expect to have all 39 units rented by the end of the month.

Veterans working to turn their lives around can get one-on-one help at the complex.

Hillstrom faced so much after serving in the Navy - substance abuse, cancer, violence on the streets.

“I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been burned,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of things happen.”

Now, he's doing everything he can to help his fellow veterans live better lives. And he’s thankful for his new accommodations at Rocky Hill.

"Life is so good. I'm blessed,” he said. “I mean, the grace of God in everything is so much better."

He said his example is proof it's possible things can turn around.

"I'm so stoked. This is my home and I'm not leaving for a long time,” he said.

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