Santa Maria - North County

Veterans helping veterans - vet housing opens in Santa Maria

Veterans finding hope

Veterans helping veterans vet...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Veterans helping veterans - struggling vets have been moving into the new "La Casa de Flores" - also known as "Camp Flores" in Santa Maria.

This morning was the grand opening. Camp Flores is a place where veterans can find hope. Earlier we spoke with a vet who was just recently homeless. 

"He's a good baby, doesn't cry much, sleeps most of the time," Navy veteran Anthony Ibarra said, talking about his new baby.  

Navy veteran Anthony Ibarra and his girlfriend Desiree just moved into "Camp Flores" about a month ago. Then about half a month later...

"This guy came along," Ibarra said, referencing his baby.  

All five pounds, five ounces of him.

"Small.. 19 and a quarter inches long," Ibarra said.   

Ibarra now has a new home and a new baby, who he calls a blessing - but recently, he wasn't feeling so blessed.

"I was at the Good Samaritan shelter over there behind Santa Maria High," Ibarra said. 

Ibarra was just a little down on his luck.

"Couldn't find anywhere to stay or anything, rents pretty expensive," Ibarra said. "Luckily I was working and I had a job..as well as my girlfriend." 

Ibarra lives in one of two detached apartments that can house a veteran family like his or a single veteran. The main house can house up to eight veterans.  

"It's designed to help displaced veterans, low income or homeless vets," Army veteran Mario Alvarez said. 

Army veteran Mario Alvarez recently moved in and is helping run the house.

"We also lift each other up and support each other, if there's something going on in someone's mind we will sit down and talk about it," Alvarez said.  

The camp is named after Judge Rogelio Flores, who started the first "Veteran's Court" in Santa Barbara County - that helps vets who get into trouble, get back on track. 

"When they come back, we need to step up for them..we can't stop fighting for veterans because they never stopped fighting for us," Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores said.  

Reporter: How you feeling?
"Good..happy," Ibarra said.   

Camp Flores, located off of West Church Street and Thornburg Street, is funded by a private donor - who is a veteran - and government assistance.


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