'There's a whole community that I found of people that want to help you'
EUGENE, Ore. - Crystal Jewell, a U.S. Air Force Veteran and single mother of two, was homeless for two months.
"When I was serving everything was taken care of, but when I got out, no one was there to tell me what I needed to do or where to go," she said.
Jewell, originally from Bend, served in security forces for the U.S. Air Force.
After moving to the Netherlands for some time, she returned to Oregon.
"When you are a parent, your number one goal is to provide for them and I felt like I wasn't able to provide for them," Jewell says. "I wasn't able to put a roof over their head. I wasn't able to give them somewhere to call home."
Jewell says she and her two daughters, Abbey and Mandy, crashed in her friend's one bedroom apartment.
"I came across an ad for veterans housing on Craigslist," she said.
Jewell found the Veterans Housing Project, a St. Vincent de Paul program that connects vets with affordable housing.
"There's a whole community that I found of people that want to help you," she said. "People want to give back what you did and the service you gave."
Jewell said she feels blessed. "We get a whole house! We get a whole backyard, a fenced backyard, where they can run around and play and have fun! It's been amazing."
There's even room for a trampoline, Abbey and Mandy's favorite.
"Freedom! Now, I have the freedom to pursue the things that I'm passionate about," Jewell said. "Before my day to day chore was trying to find a house, trying to support my children."
Jewell said she's pursuing a career in law enforcement. She currently works as a firearms instructor for React Training Systems.
Jewell and the Veterans Housing Project opened a veterans exhibit called "Flags for Tags" at the Valley River Center mall today. The display will be open through July 21.