Austin's homeless vets get help finding homes

AUSTIN Phillip Hicks and his wife, Katie Hammrich, never dreamed their new start in Austin would mean living in their car in a Walmart parking lot, reports CBS affiliate station KEYE-TV.

"We moved to Austin two months ago and we've been living in our car ever since," said Katie.

Hicks served three years in the U.S. Marines in Iraq. He is now among the estimated 300 homeless veterans living in Austin.

Phillip Hicks is a homeless Iraqi war veteran who lives in his car with his wife, Katie, in Austin, Texas.
KEYE-TV /CBS

Failing to find a full-time job has been a blow to his budget and his ego.

"We work day labor so we get paid each day that we work, when they have work for us," said Phillip. "And as we save up enough money, we get hotel rooms so we can shower and shave. But most nights we stay in the back of my car in this parking lot."

But soon, this young couple can put the parking lot life in their rear view mirror.

The Veterans' Administration is pouring money into housing programs with the goal of getting all homeless vets off the streets in the U.S. in the next two years.

Thanks to that money from the V.A., Caritas of Austin is giving veterans like Hicks a helping hand.

Caritas partners with apartment complexes to find veterans and their families a place to live at a reasonable rate.

Homeless advocates say a roof over one's head makes finding and keeping a job, much easier.

Phillip and Katie move into their apartment next week and are looking forward to much brighter days ahead.

"Hopefully in the near future, we can have a real wedding. One we can actually afford. And basically just settle down and live the rest of our lives," said Phillip.