New grant helps homeless, unemployed veterans find jobs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New grant helps homeless, unemployed veterans find jobs

Through a new one-year grant, the program aims to help vets in Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River Counties who need homes and jobs, either seasonal or long term. (Photo source: WLOX) Through a new one-year grant, the program aims to help vets in Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River Counties who need homes and jobs, either seasonal or long term. (Photo source: WLOX)
Tuesday afternoon, a representative with the Hancock Resource Center asked the Biloxi City Council to help spread the word about the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. (Photo source: WLOX) Tuesday afternoon, a representative with the Hancock Resource Center asked the Biloxi City Council to help spread the word about the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

One South Mississippi organization wants to put veterans to work. The Hancock Resource Center has received a federal grant to help homeless veterans find jobs and housing. 

On the eve of Veterans Day, the group appeared before Biloxi leaders to ask them to help spread the word about the benefits of the program.

Military veterans are familiar faces at the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen in Biloxi. Douglas Haynes is an Army veteran. He's been homeless for six years.

"Bad investments, bad decisions," said Haynes.

He lost his woodworking business in Florida.

"I want to go back to building furniture. In all honesty, that's one thing that makes me happy, and putting a roof over my wife's head," said Haynes.

Shane Nixon is trying to put veterans like Haynes to work.

"If you come across a veteran, a military veteran that is homeless or jobless, please give me a call," Nixon told the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday.

Nixon is turning to city leaders, attending job fairs and reaching out to business owners to raise awareness about the new Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.

"When they come back, they have a hard time adjusting. Some of them need medical treatment, and when they get out, they have nothing. The grant program allows me, as a veterans’ employment coordinator, to reach out to small and large businesses and try to match the veteran with their skills with what the employers are looking for," explained Nixon.

With a $200,000 grant, the program can provide job training, tools, uniforms and even bus tickets to help vets in Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River Counties. In return, businesses can get tax breaks if they hire veterans.

"I'm a 23-year veteran of the Marine Corps myself, knowing first hand of what a veteran goes through," said Nixon. "It's a shame that we have even one military veteran that's homeless or jobless."

The purpose is to help vets find housing and a way to support themselves. They just need businesses willing to give them a chance.

"It'd be truly wonderful," said Haynes.

Since the program started in July, it has helped 10 veterans find housing. Eight of them also have jobs.

The goal is to enroll 50 veterans over a year-long period.

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