STANDISH — A new report finds Maine’s homeless population is growing.
A local group helping homeless veterans estimates there are hundreds of vets living on the streets.
Cody Curato and Rebecca Levesque had been staying with friends, but when the time came to leave, they had no place to go, and when the weather turned cold, the newlyweds started living in their van.
“We were bouncing between local ponds and gas stations, and it’s not very fun,” Curato said.
And with no permanent address, they found it hard to get jobs.
“It’s a vicious cycle,” Curato said. “If you don’t have a car, most employers won’t look at you. If you don’t have an address, most employers won’t look at you.”
“And if you don’t have a job, you can’t get a house or a car,” Levesque said.
Curato is an army veteran, discharged when his health took a turn for the worse.
“In 2014, I got an Honorable Under Medical Condition Discharge,” Curato said.
He reconnected with the VA, who helped find an apartment for the couple.
The Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance furnished the entire apartment.
“We’ve never asked for help from anybody,” Kevin Nicholson of the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance said. “We just get it because when people find out what we do, they want to get on board and be part of the alliance.”
The young couple and their two huskies moved in Friday morning.
“Here’s your new home and you’re not homeless anymore,” Nicholson said.
“I love it. Everything about it,” Levesque said. “It’s incredible. There’s just all of this space and the closets are big. There’s already food in the cabinets. It’s amazing.”
Curato already found two jobs, and now that they have a place to live, Levesque plans on applying for work, but Nicholson says more affordable apartments are needed to end Maine’s homeless crisis.