Group Works to Get Homeless Veterans Off Miami Streets

South Florida is one of the primary locations for homeless veterans but there's a renewed effort to get them off the streets once and for all.

Former Marine Enrique Flores took time away from practicing chiropractic medicine Thursday and was out looking to help homeless veterans. One man in a blue shirt refused assistance, ultimately walking away.

It's part of the frustration in achieving the goal the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust set of getting every homeless vet off the street by year's end.

"The part that strikes me the most is this was that this is somebody who at one point sworn to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, like you and I did, but he for some reason, he is where he is now," Flores said.

After the Marines, things went awry for Barry Colvin, with much of his adult life spent bouncing from daily jobs and decades living on the street, until last month when he was approached by the Homeless Trust.

"They asked me if I wanted to get myself together, wanna get my life back together, want to go in the shelter," Colvin said. "They cleaned me up, got my veterans benefits, started trying to get me some ID and all that stuff."

The Trust, which get funds from the food and beverage tax, is working with the VA, shelters, housing programs, job and life skill workers to affect change.

"In 2014 alone we took a thousand people, thousand veterans, and we found them a place to live," Homeless Trust Chairman Ron Book said. "First of all, joining forces to end veterans homelessness in our community is what this is all about. And helping the brave men and women who served this county get off the streets."

"They got me off the street and they said I didn't have to worry about sleeping up on a bridge no more," Army veteran Alex Cangster said.

The Trust estimates 20 homeless vets are still on the street near downtown.

For more on how you can help, visit www.homelesstrust.org.

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