The Billets in Echo Park, California (Google Maps)
For six years, dozens of homeless veterans have recovered from trauma in nine cottages along a winding residential road in Echo Park. The Billets — military jargon for civilian quarters — has been a model.
The 72-bed program places as much as 70% of its chronically homeless veterans — male and female — in permanent housing, according to Volunteers of America, which operates the program. It's based in a tranquil, leafy and gentrifying neighborhood of families and young professionals a short walk from a doughnut shop, a grocery store and multiple bus lines.
But on Monday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is closing the Billets for good.
CAMDEN, N.J. — Johnny Bobbitt, the homeless vet who conspired with a Burlington County couple to spin a feel-good story that captured hearts across the country and raised $400,000 in a GoFundMe campaign, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering Wednesday in federal court in Camden.
Bobbitt, 36, could face from six to 30 months in federal prison for his crime.
Associated Press/Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer
MOUNT HOLLY, NEW JERSEY — A couple conspired with a homeless man on a story about him offering the last of his money when the woman’s car ran out of gas and then set up a fraudulent GoFundMe account to scam sympathizers, according to a report Wednesday.
Law enforcement officials converged Thursday on the New Jersey home of the couple accused of stealing money from a GoFundMe campaign set up to help Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless man whose kindness to a stranger touched hearts across the nation and beyond.