Formerly homeless vets show off apartments

Those who work with the homeless have noticed a positive trend in recent years: The number of veterans living on local streets has shrunk dramatically.

Officials with U.S. Vets, a shelter for homeless veterans, want that number to be zero.

They took a step in that direction this summer with the opening of a second facility in Las Vegas.

The Radcliff, a complex of 25 furnished apartments on Sahara Avenue near Paradise Road, provides permanent housing for chronically homeless veterans who are disabled. Those who live there receive counseling, case management and other services.

"So many people have reached out to help, I can't find the right words anymore," Joe Roberts, a disabled U.S. Navy veteran, said Thursday while showing off his modest one-bedroom apartment during an open house tour of the new facility.

Roberts, 54, said he was homeless "for a while" in 2008 after becoming "a victim of the economy and then disabled." He has lived at The Radcliff since July.

"All I can say is 'thank you,' " he said.

U.S. Vets, which for the past decade has operated a shelter for up to 240 veterans on Bonanza Road near Las Vegas Boulevard, received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to help fund The Radcliff.

Veterans who earn an income also contribute to the cost of their housing each month.

The number of veterans living on Las Vegas Valley streets has decreased by more than 40 percent, from 2,262 to 1,350 since 2009, according to a large-scale January homeless count.

Homeless service providers attribute the decrease, which mirrors a national trend, largely to the Obama administration's dedicating more funds to combating homelessness among veterans.

Nationally, the number of homeless veterans has decreased from 150,000 to 75,000, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"A man or woman who has sacrificed so much for our country should never find themselves homeless," said Shalimar Cabrera, site director for U.S. Vets.

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at or 702-383-0285.