Program Finds Homes For Homeless Veterans

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A local veteran who spent years homeless with his son was able to find a home in just two days with the help of a program called HUD VASH.

HUD VASH, or HUD VA Supported Housing, is a program designed to get homeless veterans off the street and into permanent housing.

Amy Cash, a HUD VASH coordinator, said doing something like this would not be possible without cooperation from the community.

“The VA has programming but we rely on landlords and property owners, people in our community that just want to help and volunteer time, effort to get these people the housing that they deserve," Cash said.

Ken Schmude served in the Army but became homeless after a heart attack in 1998.

He and his son traveled to various states before finally landing in Arkansas.

Schmude explained they lived with his son's friends for a while but that just didn't cut it.

He eventually got connected with 7hills and HUD VASH, two groups that helped him make a big change in his life.

“When they got together, I started getting things," Schmude said. "Now you’d think I was a billionaire by the stuff I have compared to when I had absolutely nothing. I slept on the floor and cushions that I found in a dumpster. That was it. I couldn’t afford nothing.”

They continue to help him with getting to appointments and shopping for food.

He knows many different homeless veterans who live in the Fayetteville area and said many believe there is nothing that can help change their situation.

Schmude now disagrees and explained that if more of those veterans knew about HUD VASH, then more would receive the help that he has.

The former homeless veteran is very grateful for everything HUD VASH and people like Cash have done to get him out of his previous situation.

“I was pretty lucky to get from one day to the next because my situation was dim," Schmude said. "But they brightened it up.”