SOUTH LA (CBSLA.com) — A local veteran who spent 13 years in the U.S. Army is getting a new start after she spent years on the street upon leaving the service.
In all, Carrie Simpson spent 15 years in and out of homelessness before moving into her first-ever apartment in October.
“Homeless is not my first title any more,” Simpson said. “It’s ‘welcome to my apartment’.”
Carrie served as a military cook and found she was unable to make it on her own when she left the service in 2002.
“When I came out, I had certain qualifications for certain jobs, but they didn’t meet the cost of living at that moment,” Simpson said.
The organization Cal Vet says in 2014, there were 1.7 million veterans living in California, of which 12,100 were homeless. Additionally, of those 12,100 homeless veterans, 4,200 of them were in Los Angeles County.
Cal Vet says many veterans suffer from conditions that make it hard to get and keep a full time job.
The group Vet Hunters offers programs and services to help homeless veterans.
“It’s not fair that they sacrifice so much of their life to give to our country, and yet they’re sleeping out on the street,” Vet Hunters’ Ivana Lopeztiana said.
Simpson now holds a part-time job and plans on going to college.