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Army Veteran Finds Housing Through San Diego Program

Reported by Christopher Maue

A U.S. Army veteran on Tuesday said his life changed thanks to a San Diego homeless program launched in 2011.

Tommy Faccio was one of 36 homeless people selected to be a part of Project 25, a United Way homeless initiative to find permanent housing for the chronically homeless.

Faccio said he suffered from severe physical disabilities and mental illnesses. But his disabilities worsened from being homeless for eight years, and he said he had no living family or friends left.

"I have degenerative arthritis in my upper spine, right shoulder and my wrist and both my feet," Faccio said. "In fact, I'm the only one I know who's even alive still. Everybody I know is dead. My entire family, all my friends, everybody is long dead."

He said he used to lie to the Veterans Administration about being suicidal, just to have a roof over his head. Today, the 57-year-old has his own one-bedroom apartment.

"These guys have actually put a roof over my head," Faccio said. "I've heard a lot of talk but this actually happened."

Project 25 launched in 2011 with the goal of housing at least 25 homeless San Diegans who used the most public services. The United Way said as a result of the program, the median expense per user decreased from nearly $111,000 in 2010 to less than $12,000 in 2013.

KPBS' Hoa Quach contributed to this report.

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