HOWARD COUNTY — In Indiana, there are hundreds of veterans who are experiencing homelessness.
According to the most recent data from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, in 2019, out of 5,471 Hoosiers experiencing homelessness 572 were veterans.
Veteran John Flesch was recently living in a homeless shelter when he learned about Jackson Street Commons in Kokomo.
"They saved my life. I was living in a homeless shelter and it was awful," Flesch said.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 2001. After losing his job, he found himself without a roof over his head. Now, he has his own one bedroom apartment
"People become homeless for reasons. They have barriers such as mental health or addiction issues. We provide that stable housing plus supportive services," Angie Ciski, Director of Jackson Street Commons and Veterans Programs said.
Jackson Street Commons provides permanent supportive housing for disabled veterans. All 27 one bedroom apartments are full, but they work with organizations across the region to make sure a veteran is never turned away.
Indiana is broken up into 16 regions, which are overseen by regional planning councils to develop and implement strategies to hep alleviate homelessness.
Howard County is part of Region 5 which also includes Cass, Miami, Wabash and Tipton. Recently, the Mayor of Kokomo received a letter from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness recognizing the work Region 5 is doing to help find veterans homes.
"That doesn't mean there aren't still veterans in need of residency or other additional services. It's just that with a great collaboration that we have among the agencies and municipalities both city and county that we provided the necessary resources they need to effectively do so," Mayor Tyler Moore of Kokomo said.
"The work is not done," Ciski said. "We work together but our goal is to keep working well together."