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Homeless Veterans

November 11th, 2009 by flanews

Thousands of brave men and women who served our country are now living on the streets. Mental health problems and drug addictions keep many veterans from holding down jobs. As Whitney Ray tells us, efforts are underway to find housing for down and out soldiers.

He spends his days at busy intersections, asking drivers for a hand out. At night he sleeps in the woods. He asked to be called Ralph. He served in the Navy during Vietnam and came home to contemp.

“I had them spit on me because I was in uniform. Now they are the ones making the big money now days and I ain’t making, you can see what I’m doing,” said Ralph.

In 1970, Ralph hung up his navy blue uniform and picked up a bottle. Drinking cost him his job, his family, and his dignity.

Unfortunately Ralph’s story is all too common among those who’ve served our country. One out of every five homeless people is a veteran.

The Volunteers of America, which has services for homeless vets in seven Florida cities, bought this Tallahassee apartment complex and next week its doors will open to homeless veterans. The Tallahassee American Legion helped furnish the 52 units. Commander Val Frailey says there aren’t enough spots.

“There are about 10 times that many who would like to be in there,” said Frailey.

And for many of those down and out soldiers, like Ralph, Veterans Day is…

“Just another day. Just Another day in the neighborhood,” Ralph said.

A day that serves as a reminder that the country has too often turned its back on those that have served. For more information on how you can help homeless veterans or if you know a homeless veteran who needs help go to www.voa.org

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