MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans is actively searching for women who served in the military. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the veterans homeless population.

MACV is committed to helping these service members get off the streets and into a home.

After serving two and a half years in the Marines, Berylynn Fleury found herself living on the streets. She says she was addicted to drugs.

“I used to sell drugs to maintain my habit, and I would just kind of hop from house to house to house,” she said.

It was during her lost years that Fleury reached out for help.

“I actually called MACV once and it was Kim who had helped me, and this was like several, several years ago,” she said.

MACV helped her get into an apartment, but that didn’t last. Her addiction to methamphetamine took over until she got caught. She ended up in Veterans Treatment Court.

“For about three years a judge told me where I could live, what I could do, and when I could do it. And I mean that worked for me,” Fleury said.

She says her arrest was a blessing in disguise. She cleaned herself up. She landed in sober housing for 10 months and called MACV afterward to arrange a stay in one of their structured independent living homes. She lived in a SIL house for about a years before probation.

“We want more women to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help,” MACV senior case manager Kimberley Dotstry said.

Dotstry, also a veteran of the Navy, was the lifeline Fleury needed. What she didn’t realize was that Dotstry was the one who helped her when she first reached out to MACV.

“I didn’t know it was the same woman I had worked with several years ago, and it was. And she had told me that they could possibly find me a place and the very next day they found this place,” Fleury said.

Now she has a place to call home, and she’s in school studying human service at Metropolitan State University. She says her life has never been better.

Dotstry says the number of female veterans looking for housing is on the rise. MACV has added another transitional house to its inventory. Although MACV has transitional housing for women with families, this new one is a five-bedroom house for single women.

For Fleury, her cozy home in St. Paul is just what she needs. Housing now, a degree in the near future, and with her life well underway, thanks to MACV.

“MACV saves lives,” she said.

Click here to see how you can help MACV in their mission to help homeless vets.

Reg Chapman