TAMPA, Fla. — They served our country, but who is serving them?
Right now there are more than 120,000 homeless U.S. veterans living either on the streets or in shelters. We met one woman who is on the front lines of this battle and is determined to save vets and their homes.
Ruth Leath Bryan can barely navigate her yard. Her husband, a navy veteran, can’t even leave their home. Bryan told Ivanhoe, “They diagnosed him with Dementia and he has gotten worse in the last six months.”
So has their living situation. A yard full of weeds just scratches the surface.
“We had a leak in the roof. I had a rotting back porch falling apart,” she described.
Bryan and her husband are also racking up thousands in fines for code violations and are now at risk of losing their home.
“I knew I couldn’t pay them. I would have to get a tent and go live in the woods,” Byran said.
Their case got the attention of code enforcement officer Christine Zien McCombs, Code Enforcement Officer.
The former detective, now code enforcement officer, launched a program called Code Vet, after noticing a troubling trend: veterans with too many code violations.
McCombs said, “My thought was these are veterans that fought for our country. They protected us why can’t we have a community do like a basic payback.”
So, she recruited a community.
Volunteers and businesses serving vets by from cleaning their yards, getting them new garage doors, and ultimately saving their homes.
“I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. I really don’t they were a godsend,” Bryan said.
Code Vet has helped more than a hundred families so far … and you can bet more vets and more homes will be saved in the future.
Code Vet launched in 2016 as a Florida County Code Enforcement Division. It grew so rapidly it is now a non-profit organization.