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From homeless to homeowner: How a veteran got her life back

Alyias said the VA helped her find an apartment and get the help she needed. She was able to buy her home in December of 2015. (KTUL)

The hum of an air conditioning unit, a sign in the window and plants growing in a garden out front are all small indicators of a home.

"But I have hummingbirds," said Ginny Alyias.

Alyias said she knew her home was the one when she saw the yard. Her reason why is a four-legged dog named Jack.

"It's been about training me more than training him," said Alyias.

Jack can recognize when Alyias is about to get a migraine. He's been by her side for four years, even when she was homeless, living out of her car.

"So, that puts you at more risk because you can lose your job. You can't cook so your money goes for fast food," said Alyias.

Alyias served in the Air Force from '79 to '80. She said asking for help was hard, but it was something she needed to do, not for herself but for Jack.

"I don't know if it was strength. In a way, I guess it was weakness, because I can't live in the car, I can't live without my dog. Things are just going to get worse and if I don't get help where will I be," said Alyias.

Alyias isn't alone in her struggle. According to Veterans Affairs, around 10 to 12 percent Tulsa's homeless are veterans.

"In that sense, that's all that they think about. Thank you for your service. But for veterans the service is not that little time that they served, it's actually a life," said Alyias.

Alyias said the VA helped her find an apartment and get the help she needed. She was able to buy her home in December of 2015.

"Every time something blooms, I'm like this is my effort, I'm improving," said Alyias.

There's a way people can help veterans who are homeless and struggling.

The Oklahoma Veteran's Project is asking for donations to "Stand Down for Veteran Homeless." The one-day event in September benefits struggling and homeless veterans. They can get clothing, food, necessary items and housing in one day. Last year, according to officials with the VA, they helped around 300 veterans.

Donate to the Oklahoma Veteran's Project online or mail a check with "Stand Down for Veteran Homeless" in the memo line. Click here for the address.

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