There are nearly a thousand veterans in Western New York that cannot find jobs leaving many homeless. The Veteran's Outreach Center is helping many veterans get back on their feet. David Ellwinger enlisted in the military and thought he was getting valuable experience. However, when he tried to find a job he was rejected. He searched for nearly two years. "We do four years. It's the same amount someone does for their bachelors degree," said Ellwinger. "We're out there dealing with life and death situations. We get a "C" in the field and someone is dead."
Ellwanger was homeless until he turned to The Veteran's Outreach Center for help. They gave him a place to live and helped him find a job. The Veteran's Outreach Center housed 118 veterans last year. "We as a community need to pull together and be more supportive," said Judy Gilbert, The Director of Residential Services. She says they have 28 apartments. Currently, each one is occupied and seven people are on the waiting list for housing. "Here in Rochester we know that on any given night there 600 homeless and 7-10 percent of them are veterans," said Gilbert.
Ellwanger doesn't know where he would be without The Veteran's Outreach Center. He wishes more people would give veterans a chance. "I believe our work ethic is above and beyond even without a college degree," said Ellwanger. "Veterans returning home is not just a VA issue. It's a community issue," said Gilbert. "We have a responsibility to provide services, the best services that they deserve to have."
If passed the bill to offer incentives to employers to hire veterans would go into effect in January 2012.