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Organizations team up to get homeless vets off the streets

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Burgie Rogers, a soldier from the Vietnam era, started a housing organization for homeless veterans more than 30 years ago. She opened an apartment complex as Veterans Helping Veterans.

"I started this organization because I saw too many vets going to the VA that were homeless that should not be homeless. I mean, troops that had just finished deployment and they're sleeping on the street or sleeping in an alley," said Rogers.

The building gave veterans a place to stay as well as help with federal benefits.

"We would go down underneath the bridges, pull out vets, men and women, and say 'do you want to clean up your act? Do you want to get it together?'" said Rogers.

Unfortunately, Rogers couldn't keep up the maintenance all on her own and the complex has been shut down the past four years due to damage and decay.

The Veterans Employment Alliance found Rogers and is now working to help transform her place into an updated, dorm-style building. The organizations are aiming to feed and house more than 30 veterans at a time while training them for jobs.

"It's about partnerships with other organizations to get these people off the streets, to get them a career, to get them to be able to put food on the table -- food, stuff that we take for granted," said Lindsay Brewer of the VEA.

Army veteran Dean Rossey is volunteering his time and skills to restore the building that will once again serve homeless veterans.

"A lot of these guys went through a lot of traumatic things in their lives, so this is how I want to help them, to let them feel good about themselves and there's purpose in life. They just haven't seen it yet," said Rossey.

Rossey says if funding was available, the building could be completely restored in about a year, however, the total cost to renovate will be upwards of $300,000. Money isn't the only resource lacking in the project -- volunteers are also needed.

CLICK HERE to find out how you can help.

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