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U.S. Marine Corps veteran and third-generation Washingtonian Cedric Lucas said he cried when he was handed the keys to his new home recently.

Lucas, who was featured on WJLA (click here), was one of 20 homeless veterans who received keys to their new homes and were celebrated at the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s seventh annual Veterans Appreciation Event, entitled the Stand at Ease conference.

“This is it for me. I am happy as a jaybird,” said Lucas, who had been sleeping in his van or his sister’s room in a local nursing home. “I didn’t think I would have a place to lay my head.”

Lucas, a former federal police officer, was taken out of the line of duty due to an injury in the mid-1980s. Also during this time, he was not addressing his mental health issues and abusing drugs and alcohol. He said he left D.C. and just drove around the country for years.

Thirteen years ago, he stopped in Columbia, South Carolina and went into a VA Hospital. There he got the treatment he needed, but he struggled to find stable housing using his VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) voucher. Then recently he learned that his father and sister were having health issues back in D.C.

“I wanted to come home,” said Lucas, who reached out to people in his hometown for assistance moving home and finding a place to live.

Working with DCHA and the VA, Lucas was able to receive one of DCHA’s new VASH vouchers. He, along with four other formerly homeless veterans, was able to move into a brand new building in Northwest. Thanks to A Wider Circle, his apartment was fully furnished.

“There is no place like home. This city literally changed. I come back and it is like it found itself,” he said.

Now, Lucas has been assigned a case manager and is currently being evaluated to find programming that suits him. He also is better able to take care of his own health issues.

He said DCHA Senior Mediation Specialist Keith Moone, who helped him find his new home, calls to check on him daily.

“I have to tell you, nobody has taken an interest in me like that. This man, I can feel his sincerity in wanting to help me,” said Lucas.

He added, “In the program, they say ‘Have an attitude for gratitude.’ And that is what I have, an attitude for gratitude. I have a roof over my head.”

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Formerly homeless veterans Cedric Lucas and Larry Johnson with HCVP Director Ronald McCoy
Last modified: 11/13/2018 4:26:26 PM