JACKSONVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- A Texas based non-profit agency aimed at preventing homelessness among veterans expanded to North Carolina this year.
Family Endeavors opened offices in Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Jacksonville. Combined, the three offices work with more than 40 counties across the state.
The Jacksonville branch opened its doors two months ago and has helped more than 50 veterans through its supportive services.
Donald Morgan served in the United States Marine Corps for 12 years. When he finished serving, life took an unexpected turn.
"Rock bottom hit and I was on the streets, and then on couches, and then back on the streets,” Morgan said.
At one point during his six month struggle, Morgan’s four young children were subject to that lifestyle.
Realizing he had to make a change, Morgan swallowed his pride and asked for help. He contacted Family Endeavors, praying they could help him get back on his feet.
"You have to set ego, pride, everything aside to get where you need to be,” he said.
Morgan worked with the agency and two weeks ago he and his kids had a roof over their heads.
More than 1,000 veterans in North Carolina have similar stories whether they have been at risk of losing their home, or are homeless.
"It tears at your heart to see veterans sleeping in woods and sleeping in tents,” said Barrett Kahl, an outreach specialist.
Family Endeavors provides benefits to low income veterans who qualify, for at least 90 days. Leaders say benefits can be extended for up to 20 months if need be, but stress the program is used as a “hand up” not a “hand out”.
Through case management, mentors assist veterans in developing a housing stability plan, obtaining VA and other benefits.
“Being able to vent to somebody is a lot of times what people need,” said Kahl, who also served in the United States Marine Corps for 18 years.
If you know a veteran that could use a helping hand, they can call the Jacksonville office at 910-459-4320.