Homeless veterans of MidMichigan

They've defended and protected the homeland, but many of them don't have homes themselves.

Statistics show one in five homeless people are veterans.

NBC25 spoke with those affected and those helping them.

They served our country, and they call the streets home. NBC25 met up with 52-year-old Juan Robinson at a Flint homeless veterans resource fair.

"I'm just in a dilemma right now, but I like this situation we have right here because they're helping everybody they can," says Robinson of the resource fair at the National Guard Armory in Flint.

Across the country and here in MidMichigan government organizations, private businesses, and non-profits join forces to help the end homelessness for roughly 100,000 veterans.

"I was homeless for almost a year," says 49-year-old Sheila Hunt who works at Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw. She's one of 35 Michigan veterans who received money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for permanent housing.

She says, just because she's a veteran doesn't mean the government pays for everything.

"If you don't qualify for certain benefits or if you're not disabled or anything than there's not a lot of things that you qualify for."

Some of the homeless veterans tell NBC25 the reason why they are homeless is because the poor economy affects them as much as it does everyone else, and they simply don't know the programs that they qualify for.

"It's hard to find a job here in Flint, very hard," says Robinson.

Tredale Kennedy of Alternative Veteran Solutions says, "They see a lot of things on the battlefield that may cause them to have depression." Also, military officials say the jobs veterans had in the service don't necessarily translate into the same jobs in civilian life.

Advocates say, veterans often don't want pity and don't seek out services or help.

Pastor Tim Terpening of the River of Life Safe Harbor says, "There are people waiting at desks, but they don't come in."

Terpening says by reaching out with respect, advocates say they're helping veterans reintegrate back into society.

Veterans who've overcome homeless encourage others to contact the Department of Veterans Affairs for help finding permanent housing.