Street Roots vendor Dennis Chavez got keys to his own apartment in Southeast Portland earlier this month with the help of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veterans and Families grant program.
“I’m renting a room in the basement of a house, which I share with one other person. We have our own bathroom, our own kitchen. It’s like a mini apartment. I can shut the door, lock it, and the rest of the world can do whatever it wants to do.”
The VA will be covering Dennis’ rent for up to nine months, and his landlord, a veteran himself, rents only to vets. There are six total in the house.
“I think he just has a heart for veterans issues and some sense of obligation to get veterans off the streets,” Dennis said.
Dennis served in the Army from 1986 to 1990, spending one year in South Korea and three years at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Korea was great, Texas not so much,” Dennis said with a laugh. He has been in Portland since 2003 and homeless on and off for the past three years.
You can find Dennis selling Street Roots most days outside the Portland Art Museum. Pick up a paper and congratulate him on his new apartment.