WASHINGTON - Right now in the nation’s capital, 237 brave men and women who fought for our country are sleeping in the streets. Across the country, according to U.S. Vets, there are 38,000 homeless veterans.
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox spoke with 56-year old Delmar Deflorimonte who spent six years in the military starting in 1983. He was a combat engineer who built bridges and dealt with explosive in Korea and California. Most recently, he was living without a roof over his head in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"A series of unfortunate events led me to become homeless," said Deflorimonte. "I was separated from my wife and my two children, my two kids, and I had to walk away from a very good job because of that situation."
He lost everything except for hope.
"It was hard. It was hard for me being away from my kids… it was tough. I couldn’t focus, i couldn’t do anything," said Delorimonte.
Delorimonte moved to Washington, DC to get support from U.S. Vets which is the largest national nonprofit organization with boots on the ground to combat America’s veteran homeless crisis head-on.
"It’s sad because these men and women went over to foreign lands and fought for our country and come back to find themselves in homelessness and they get into homeless for a number of reasons – loss of a job, loss of a loved one, mental health issues, PTSD," said Cliff Lewis, Executive Director, U.S. Vets.
Deflorimonte thanks to U.S. Vets for helping him go to school, find a new job and home – giving him the opportunity to be successful again.
"They encouraged me. They told me not to give up, to keep on pushing, deal with my issues, and they helped me deal with my issues and I’m here now," said Deflorimonte.
Fox is proud to support U.S. Vets has a new campaign called Make Camo Your Cause.
They’re asking people to wear camouflage to show patriotism and pride and post a picture on social media – just don’t forget to use the hashtag #HonorUSVets and #Fox5Vet. If you or a veteran you know is struggling with homelessness – visit usvets.org.