DENVER (KDVR) — Daniel Barnett isn’t used to the cold. He grew up outside of New Orleans, Louisiana and has spent the last six years of his life trying to survive in Colorado.
He joined the Navy shortly after Hurricane Katrina impacted his home, and worked as a cook for eight years.
“Didn’t really get to see much but I got to stay on the ocean,” Barnett said. “That was cool.”
Like thousands of other veterans, his transition to civilian life is filled with complication and struggle. Barnett tried to meet up with friends in Colorado. When things didn’t turned out as planned, he found himself in a homeless shelter and had a lot of his possessions stolen.
Now, the veteran finds himself in Denver, and is one of at least 627 homeless vets living on the streets within city limits.
“Sometimes it kind of aggravates you,” Barnett said. “Excuse my language, it pisses me off, you know?”
There is some help on the horizon for homeless veterans in the Denver metro area.
The Housing Authority of the City of Aurora was granted an additional 20 housing vouchers for this group, valued at about $108,701 thanks to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It brings their total for HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers to 137.
And on Friday, the Veterans Renaissance Apartments will open up in Aurora on the Fitzsimmons campus. There will be 60 units of supportive housing for veterans that will include on-site services like counseling and employment assistance.
“One homeless veteran is too many,” said Cathy Alderman with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “We definitely need to do more. We need to have more projects like this.”