Columbia, SC (WLTX) - On any given night, there are about 67,000 homeless veterans living in the streets of our country. One program here in the Midlands is trying to make that number a little more manageable.
After returning home from war, a new battle begins for our country's veterans, trying to find work.
"I didn't think it would happen this fast and it's kind of overwhelming."
After hearing his story It's easy to understand the happiness in J.B. Baker's voice.
"I'm very excited I've never thought I'd have this smile on my face again," said Baker.
But as a Desert Storm combat veteran, everything wasn't always so great. After returning from war, post traumatic stress and an onslaught of symptoms set in.
"My anxiety, I was in a deep depression. I wanted to be alone."
Baker ended up on the streets, homeless, with no where to turn.
"I think it's a major problem everywhere, all across the United States," that is until he met Clinton Davis with the Alston-Wilkes Veterans Society, a rehabilitation facility for homeless vets.
"The ultimate goal is to make the fully self-supporting, to be independent. To have jobs and to live a normal life like everybody else you know," said Davis.
The facility has eighteen rooms, equipped with a kitchen, showers, and most importantly computers, to help Vets apply for job openings in the community.
"Ever since I got here I was on the move," said Baker.
After spending four months in the program, Baker has moved out, moving into a new apartment, and finding work at a textile plant. He's now helping other veterans go through the program.
"It's certainly gratifying seeing a guy come through the program, finding him a job, finding him an apartment," said Davis.
Davis would know, he too was once in Baker's shoes, a homeless vet, who's days are now brighter, Rehabilitating homeless vets so they can again become a member of society.
"It's very exciting. I'm happy. The happiest I've been in a long time," said Baker.
If you would like to learn more about the program, visit the Alston-Wilkes website at http://www.alstonwilkessociety.org/