Mississippi has an estimated 220,000 veterans in the state, many of them are homeless.
A national organization, with funding from the Veteran's Administration, is working to identify and find permanent homes for Mississippi's homeless population.
A stretch of abandoned structures on Livingston Road could soon be transformed into permanent housing for homeless veterans.
That's the plan of Soldier On, a nonprofit organization funded by the VA.
It is headquartered in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and began offering transitional housing and support services to veterans in 1994.
The program is currently in six states.
The Veterans Administration's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant is providing $2 million in Mississippi for housing.
Soldier On is coordinating efforts to build 60 permanent housing units for homeless vets on eight acres across from the Jackson Medical Mall.
"We're working with a site that is currently owned by the Jackson Public Schools," said Soldier On Senior Vice President Hayes Dent. "They have been very cooperative with working with us, as has the medical Mall foundation and we hope to build our permanent housing in that area."
"I've seen veterans that are staying under bridges, staying in parks," said Soldier On Employment Specialist Alvin Buckley.
Just over three years ago, the Marine Corps vet was on the verge of being homeless, but today, Buckley works with Soldier On's finding jobs for vets.
The organization has worked with 1,200 homeless veterans in the state.
"I was needing help with my rent. I was kinda behind," said Buckley. "A friend of mine told me about the program, and I reached out to them. A case manager came out and visited me and they helped me out."
Soldier On also works with incarcerated veterans at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl. The program offers 30 hours of weekly instruction on coping strategies, conflict resolution, substance abuse and more.
The Labor Department is providing $200,000 for that program.
If you are a veteran needing help with housing, health care or substance abuse, call Soldier On at 1-866-406-8449.
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