Man on a mission to get homeless veterans back on track and into homes

Mario Gonzales is Homes for Heroes specialist and owner of Navy to Navy Homes

By Lena Pringle - Reporter/Anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Veterans make up 11% of the homeless population throughout the country, according to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans. 

Getting homeless veterans back on track and back into homes is very important to Mario Gonzales, who wants to see every person who has served the country have a place they can call home.

"We gave back over $400,000 and we were able to help 200 veterans and military folks here locally," said Mario Gonzales, Navy to Navy Homes owner and Homes for Heroes specialist.  

Both Homes for Heroes and Navy to Navy Homes make it their mission to get veteran and military families affordable housing while also providing support through the process. 

"Put family separation in there, distance and time and everything, it just takes the moving process to a whole other extreme set of circumstances that most people don't deal with," Gonzales said. "Most people stress out enough with a normal move."

As a 24-year member of the Navy, Gonzales said housing for veterans is essential to moving their lives forward after serving. 

Last week, Homes for Heroes gave $10,000 to Changing Homelessness, a group dedicated to helping Jacksonville's homeless veterans. 

"When they're moving around in their jobs. We have veterans that are dealing with all sorts of issues from physical and mental issues that they have after serving in the places they serve. To come back to something that is stable is absolutely critical," Gonzales said. 

Homes for Heroes donates 25% of its commission as a "thank you" for the service of veterans, military members,  first responders, law enforcement officers, health professionals and teachers -- people the organization consider as heroes in the community. For more information on the organization and its efforts, click here.

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