They put their lives on the line for our country. Now, the city they call home is helping military veterans find just that: "homes" of their own.
A massive effort is now underway to house our heroes.
"I didn't know where to go. I was pretty scared," Sr. Airman Willie Jefferson said.
The Desert Storm veteran isn't alone.
"I stayed in my home for 37 years and how I lost my home: I got behind in my property taxes; that's how I became homeless," Vietnam War vet Elvin Black said. "I was depressed. Emotionally, it just felt bad. Sometimes I felt like I wanted to do things to myself."
Thousands of Houstonians, many of whom are military veterans, end up living on the streets.
"I had car problems. I didn't have money to get my car fixed. That resulted in me having to quit my job because I couldn't make it to work anymore," Jefferson said.
When the Department of Veterans Affairs began challenging cities to house 100 veterans in 100 days, Mayor Annise Parker said it became personal.
"My Dad was a veteran. My uncles were veterans. I know the sacrifices they made for our country. I know how important it is that our veterans are treated with respect and dignity," Parker said.
The city worked with a number of housing and veterans agencies to find homes for more than 100 area vets. The group threw a huge housewarming party at a southeast Houston apartment community where several of the veterans will now be living.
"I'm very thankful," Black said.
The assistance won't stop at housing. The veterans will also get help finding jobs.
"We have five veteran programs where we help them get jobs. We all know one big thing is housing, but the next thing is being able to sustain that housing," Goodwill Industries' Charles Brown said.
"I like to cook. I want a cooking job or to get back to what I normally do. I'm a mechanic or a maintenance man," Black said.
The guys were given gifts to get them settled into their new homes. The goodie bags included towels, dishes and silverware.
What started as a national challenge is now continuing as a program called Housing Houston's Heroes. Mayor Parker said she is committed to continuing the initiative.
If you know a military veteran in need of housing, contact the Houston Veterans Affairs office at 1-800-827-1000 or visit: