Mid-Michigan program helps more than 80 homeless veterans turn their lives around

Homeless veteran Charlie Burns is one step closer to getting a place of his own. (NBC25/ FOX66)

More than 80 homeless veterans have turned their lives around in the past two years with the help of a program run by My Brother's Keeper and the Saginaw VA.

"I don't think homelessness and veterans should go in the same sentence," Debra Hayes, the executive director of My Brother's Keeper said.

66-year-old Charlie Burns of Flint is one of the veterans currently benefiting from the program.

"I'm looking for housing right now," Burns said. "I want to move to an apartment close to stores and stuff."

When Burns first arrived at the shelter, he couldn't see.

"I couldn't see well enough to take care of myself and my dog."

He said 95 percent of his eyesight was gone, until he crossed paths with an eye doctor at the shelter who was willing to operate on him

"My cataracts were some of the worst he's seen," Burns said. "And he did it by hand on both eyes."

Now, Burns can see and soon will be laying his eyes on a new apartment.

But he said, there's still a whole floor of veterans in the program working to achieve just that.

He has the following message for them:

"Be good, have faith in God and everything will work out," he said. "It's worked out for me. I was blind and now I see."

On Friday, June 1, the Genesee County Veteran Stand Down Committee will host a resource event and veteran lapel pinning ceremony.

All veterans and their family members are invited to attend.

The event is located at the Downtown Flint GCCARD Banquet Room on 601 N. Saginaw Street.

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