Iowa City VA opens homeless outreach clinic in Cedar Rapids - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City VA opens homeless outreach clinic in Cedar Rapids

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Ken Horn of Cedar Rapids served stateside in the Marines in the 1980's.

Horn had a job when he returned, but years later in 2009, after running into personal problems, Horn found himself homeless and living on the streets.

"It was real tough.  I had never been homeless, first time in a shelter," Horn said.

That's when Horn looked for help, turning to a veterans outreach center in Rock Island, Illinois.

He says without the center, his life may have spiraled out of control.

"I'd probably still be homeless, either that or I wouldn't be here."

Veterans Affairs workers in Rock Island were able to connect Horn with the VA Supportive Housing program.

Now, Horn has a roof over his head, receiving rental assistance from that program.

"It kept me going," he said.

The Iowa City VA is now opening a similar outreach clinic in Cedar Rapids, staffed to help homeless veterans or those in danger of losing their homes.

"There's a need yes, and it's important I think to get the word out to veterans that are returning home.  There are services that they can get, and I think it's important that families know that also," said Dawn Oxley, acting director of Iowa City VA Healthcare Systems.

The center does more than help veterans find available resources.  It also provides some of the necessities like food, clothing, and a warm shower.

"It's important for the homeless veterans to have a place where they can go," Oxley said.

With help from the outreach center, Horn is back on his feet with shelter, a job, and hopes to start his own business.

"Hopefully I'm going to strike out on my own and make a living out of it," Horn said.

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