A veterans employment fair in D.C. Oct. 25 served a dual purpose: finding jobs for recent war vets, and helping the D.C. Office of Veterans Affairs identify veterans struggling with homelessness.
You wouldn't know by Tyrone Wright's appearance at Tuesday's job fair for veterans that he's homeless. Dressed in a pressed shirt and slacks, the military veteran worked the room like a pro.
But Wright lives in one of D.C.'s homeless shelters, and is now fighting to get his life back on track.
"It's tough, but us being military people, we still look forward," says Wright. "Just like being in a war, if you are down, we still press forward because it's all about survival right now, economic survival." And to survive, Wright is hoping to land a job. It's been years since he last was employed, he says.
Chronic homelessness remains a challenge for older veterans, according to Matt Carey, D.C.'s Director of Veterans Affairs. "And with that goes addiction issues and possible mental health issues that need to be addressed, so that veteran can make an adjustment back to civilian life," says Carey.
D.C. is working to identify and help homeless veterans, Carey says. Earlier this summer, the city launched a program that provides free furniture for veterans moving off of the streets and into transitional housing.