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New housing development works to reduce number of homeless vets

3-21-18 Homes for veterans in Greenville 4 (Stephanie Brown, NewsChannel 12 photo).png
"I got a back door, I haven't had in 12 years," Riddick said. "I haven't seen a back door in so long I don't even know how to open it." (Stephanie Brown, NewsChannel 12 photo)

Right now, there are about 917 homeless vets in our state, according to research information.

In Greenville, several groups are working to make that number zero. A new housing development opened in Greenville Wednesday, affordable and just for veterans.

It's called Honor Ridge. It's the first of its kind in Eastern North Carolina. Ruth Riddick is one of 14 veterans who were in danger of homelessness who now have their very own homes.

"It took me 59 years to get a place like this," Riddick said.

Riddick served in the U.S. Army about three decades ago, she said.

"I had a daughter, and I had her when I was 16," Riddick said. "And I knew I wasn't college material, so I had to go into the Army. But I wasn't Army material either, so I survived eight years."

Then Riddick worked in factories until about 10 years ago, until a disability kept her continuing. Times quickly got tough for her, she said.

"It was like a slum apartment (where she was living), but I didn't have nowhere else to go, I'm not from here," Riddick said.

But after being selected to live at Honor Ridge, she now has a place she could have only dreamed of. She's getting to know her new neighbors -- 13 over veterans -- and looking forward to what's next. She said she'll do some decorating and, for the first time, she'll host her daughter and grand children when they come to visit.

"I got a back door, I haven't had in 12 years," Riddick said. "I haven't seen a back door in so long I don't even know how to open it.

"But see right now, I'm in a whole new environment, I gotta get used to it. But as soon as I get used to it, I'm gonna get a car, and I'm going back to school.

"To have a place like this, gorgeous like this, I treasure it. I really do treasure it. In three months, come back again it'll look more different."

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