27 Evansville apartments open for disabled American veterans - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

27 Evansville apartments open for disabled veterans

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The first of its kind in Indiana, 27 one-bedroom apartments opened up Thursday in Evansville for homeless, disabled veterans.

There is a long list of veterans that are hoping they get a key to one of the apartments at the new Lucas Place Two apartment building.

Each one is equipped with a full kitchen, living room and wheelchair accessible bathroom.

Veterans 14 News spoke with Thursday say they are not only excited to have a place to stay, but are glad to be living amongst other veterans.

"I'm loving it.  It is just like a mansion to me, I've never been in a shelter before and compared to where I am now, I love it.  This is like a mansion to me and I used to live in this neighborhood.  That is kind of neat being back in the old neighborhood again I guess," says Veteran John Speaks Sr.

Speaks is a Vietnam War era veteran who has been approved to move into Lucas Place Two.

Not only does Speaks' apartment come with a bed and sofa, there are other items donated by a veterans organization including cleaning supplies, utensils and food.

"I don't even have dishes or anything, it's like starting completely over and I'm really excited," Speaks says.

Echo Housing Corporation says 1/3 of Vanderburgh County's homeless population is made up of veterans and 96% of them are single males like Speaks.

"Its a real problem and one that is only going to escalate," says Echo Housing Corporation member Stephanie Tenbarge.

More than 100 veterans have already inquired about living at Lucas Place Two.

"Once they find out that they have the opportunity to be off the streets, to know where they are going to be every night to sleep, which we take for granted, I have actually seen these men who have faced combat fire in tears of gratitude," says Homeless Veterans Outreach Worker Michelle Lovelady-Smith.

Those who are accepted will be allowed to live at Lucas Place as long as they pay 30% of their income for rent. 

If they unable to work, they can stay there free of charge.

There are at least 40 veterans on the waiting list.  In December, 27 of them will fill the Lucas Place Two hallways.

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