Veterans Living at Ritz Ocala
No one who has served our country should ever be without a place to call home, but thousands of veterans are still on the streets.
In 2012, about 63,000 veterans were homeless on any given night.
There are services for these men and women around North Central Florida.
"It gave me another chance. It gave me another opportunity to have more hope," said Wayne Christenbery.
Christenbery is an army veteran who was living on the streets earlier this year.
"I had one leather jacket that I wrapped up with because it was cold," said Christenbery.
Then he spend some time at a homeless shelter, until he discovered a transitional housing facility in Ocala that serves veterans.
"This place has been extremely marvelous for me. I mean it's helped me in so many areas. I've learned cognitive skills, communications skills, doing the right thing mainly," said Christenbery.
In 2011 the historic but aging Ritz hotel in Ocala was renovated to serve veterans.
Navy veteran David Chosie moved here after battling drug addiction for about 45 years.
"I am blessed to be here and that veterans do have a place to come and live when you are in need," said Chosie.
Since living at the veterans home, Chosie has learned how to manage his money, be independent and stay clean.
"Being here has put a lot of structure in my life," said Chosie.
The veterans who live here set goals which are monitored weekly.
"Without a stable home, nothing happens to these veterans. These veterans now are going to school, getting an education," said Al Morrsion.
Morrison who is the resident manager said most veterans living here make an effort to change.
"I can tell a difference from when a veteran got here a year ago to now. It's a difference between day and night. In their attitude, in their morale. I have seen a couple leave. They have gotten jobs," said Morrison.
Take Christenbery as an example.
He is now working with a company called ADS and said he couldn't be more excited for what the furutre has to offer.
"I will have everything laid out for me as far as being responsible, having a place to live, fitting into society," said Christenbery.
In hopes of never living on the streets again.
- Ocala Man Who Disappeared From Assisted Living Facility Found Alive
- Ocala Police Find Marijuana Grow House While Investigating Death
- Fisher House 5K Raised Money, Spirits On Veterans Day
- Veteran Gets Mortgage Free Home in Ocala
- Marion County students appreciate Veterans Day in Ocala
- Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
- Gainesville firefighters will have more access to live training with new facility
- Development Plan approved for Assisted Living Facility
- VA Pulls Funding for Homeless Veteran Facility, Cites "Minimal Progress"
- Homeless Veterans Facility in Limbo