Project could bring new home to homeless veterans

There are hundreds of homeless people on the Grand Strand and a shocking number of them are military veterans. A new project announced Tuesday aims to get those vets off the streets and back into society.

At the North Myrtle Beach VFW hall, Kris Tourtellotte and the Veterans Reintegration Project announced plans to raise $300,000 to build a center where homeless veterans can find a safe place to live, gain job training and get practical help to return to society.

"We can also help them with communication skills, how to dress, writing resumes and basically how to live on your own," Tourtellotte explained.

The Veterans Reintegration Project is the brainchild of Tourtellotte, who says he wants to help veterans avoid what he went through after getting back from Vietnam.

Steven Rutean, a Desert Storm veteran who now works for the state helping fellow vets find jobs, says homeless vets have tremendous needs.

"They come back from a tour of duty, they're soldiers, they're supposed to be able to supply for themselves and now they're stuck in a position where they can't do that," Rutean said.

Though Tourtelotte has already received a few donations, he added that once the home is built, he won't have to ask for more money since the home will be self-sustaining.

"That's what so unique about this, it's a one time deal. We get this and we're done"

The reintegration house won't be a homeless shelter and vets who go there won't be sitting around all day, waiting for help to come to them.

"If they're following our program, there'll pretty much be something to do every day and they better be doing it or they're not going to be there anymore."

Organizers have found a five-bedroom home in North Myrtle Beach that is going through foreclosure, and they hope it will become the new integration home.