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Nov 12, 2009 7:44 AM by Kate Mundy

Homeless Vets Get Help From Lafayette Shelter

Many of the men and women we honor for serving our country, have no place to rest their heads. That's why Lafayette Catholic Service Centers opened the St. Michael Center for Veterans.

A recent study showed that there are over 10-thousand homeless veterans in the state on any given night, at least 50 in Lafayette. Eleven of those vets are living at the St. Michael Center.

They served our country, some were even prisoners of war. Now the brothers in arms are together under one roof, trying to find their way. Their stories vary. Some are fighting addictions, others can't find work. They are all disabled. They get the help they need with counseling, medical, life skills training and housing placement.

"We're definitely obligated to give back to our veterans who've done so much for us," said housing director Jonathan Linzer.

One of St. Michael's success stories is 48-year old Lucius Huffman, an Army vet who regained his independence this month, after renting a home in North Lafayette.

Huffman lost his job in hotel maintenance last year, after suffering a mini stroke. With no electricity, and not enough money for rent, he found his way to the St. Michael Center.

"Really thought I was like the scum of the earth, because people don't take all shelter persons too well," said Huffman. But the center helped him get disability benefits and a place of his own.

Huffman spent Veteran's Day filling his new home. It's a work in progress, after a year in the shelter, he didn't have many possessions.
"When I moved here, all I had was the clothes that I left the shelter with," said Huffman.

Now Huffman has three bedrooms, a full closet and hope. "Feels great, feel that I accomplished something," he said. The shelter is now looking to fill Huffman's room and give another veteran a chance for a better life.

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