Homeless veteran gets help, thanks to I-Team

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A homeless veteran finally gets help because of an ABC7 News I-Team investigation. On Veterans Day, we showed you the red tape that is keeping so many veterans on the streets.

This Navy vet didn't think he would last the winter on the streets because of the cold, and I saw his health decline in just the past two weeks. But tonight, he'll be sleeping in his own bed.

This undated image shows homeless veteran Ramon Johnson in a hospital with his beloved dog.


I met 56-year-old Ramon Johnson as he got off the bus on Friday, heading to his new home. He told me, "This is huge, especially as cold as it's been."

On Veterans Day, I introduced you to the Navy vet and his dog Navarro, sleeping on the streets of San Jose and sharing their food.

VIDEO: I-Team: Housing vouchers not enough to keep South Bay veterans off the streets

I helped cut through the red tape, got his discharge papers sent quickly, to prove he served this nation, and deserved help and respect.

A worker greeted Ramon saying, "There's your key. Welcome, happy to have you."
Ramon answered, "Awesome, thank you so much. Navarro, we have a key."

Ramon moved into Stevens House, a transitional facility run by InnVision Shelter Network. He can stay there for six months, while he receives mental health counseling and finds a permanent home.

InnVision's vice president of programs and services Brian Greenberg tells us, "This facility provides the case management and the mental health services and the support services for people that need a little extra help in securing permanent housing."

And the VA says it appears Ramon received some treatment for his schizophrenia while in the military, so he may be eligible for extra benefits.

"That can mean monthly income for a veteran, as well as lifetime healthcare," says Palo Alto VA chief of homeless programs Kate Severin.

Severin tells me they're fast-tracking Ramon's case, and he says his future is looking brighter. He told me, "A whole world has opened up that was closed to me before. What you and the I-Team have done, for me, it's changed my life."

There are hundreds of veterans around the Bay Area who have housing vouchers, but can't use them because the real estate market is so hot right now. This is a tough issue, but a lot of good people are working hard to address it.

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