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RANCHO CORDOVA — A few years ago, Army veteran George Thomas was homeless, living on the streets and sleeping in his car while he says he used drugs and hung out with drug users.

Then one Friday night he prayed for a change. That following Monday he says his prayer was answered.

“I got a call saying my application was accepted at the Mather Veterans Village,” Thomas told FOX40.

Thomas is one of 50 homeless veterans who now call the Mather Veterans Village in Rancho Cordova home, and next year more will join him and his neighbors.

Phase two and three of the $51.5 million project officially kicked off Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony.

While phase one housed 50 veterans in apartment-style homes, phase two will be a 46-bed transitional housing program for veterans not ready to live independently. Phase three will add an additional 50 permanent homes for currently homeless veterans.

Funding for the program has come from federal, state and local governments, including $11 million from the state as a result of Proposition 41, passed by voters in 2014. It allocates $600 million to projects that house veterans.

An additional $3 million came from the City of Rancho Cordova. Private donations also were needed to pay for the project.

“We have people who are homeless, and on the street and really don’t have access to the resources they were promised when they signed up for the military,” said Rancho Cordova Mayor Linda Budge regarding why the city donated money.

Phase two and three are expected to be finished sometime in the first quarter of 2019.