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The roads were under construction so I took a different route to work. On the way through to work I passed under an overpass.  I started seeing tents and cardboard boxes.  Then I recognized a symbol, one that has been around for a long time, it was an American flag.  I then seen the words crudely painted on a cardboard box.... it said, "GOD bless America."  I was already late for work so I kept going.  On lunch I decided to skip my usual latte and expensive cinnamon roll and decided to go back to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me!  I went back and parked and got my nerves together to go to the small tent city. When I approached closer I was greeted by a friendly dog and an older man.  I inquired about the tent city.  He looked up and me and told me, "We don't have anywhere else to go...please don't call the police."  I was confused initially that he thought I would call the police.  Then I realized he was sitting but he only had one leg the rest of his tattered pants was flat.  I told him I was not there to report them to the police but rather there to see what was going on.  He inquired about if I was with the news or a social organization.  I told him I was not that I was just curious.  After some time talking a few others joined me.  I learned that these men and a few women were Veterans!  They found each other and banded together to make a "family".  The ones that were able to go to the top of the highway and city pan handled daily and brought back food for the ones that were not able to do so.  When inquired about food they told me they often shared what little they could get.  They were proud.  I offered to go and buy food but they said it was not necessary and that just coming around was good enough.  My lunch was almost up and so I had to go back to work.  When I got off from work I took my credit card and went to the store I bought food, dry good, hygiene items, water, fruits, veggies, and socks!  When I got back the ones that were gone to pan handle were already out but I unloaded everything I had and they rationed it out equally amongst the ones that was there and the ones that was gone.  I sat down and drank some water and even while I was sitting another gentleman found some cardboard for me to sit on so I would not get dirty.  I could not believe that these vets were living on the streets.   I could not believe the stories that they told me.  After some time I told them I needed to get home and immediately felt bad because as a veteran I had to leave them there and go to my warm and safe home and act as if this is not going on.  When I got home I did not even start dinner I went online and starting looking at this epidemic.  It is a real problem.  But the real problem that caused a great deal of concern after a few days I decided to go back to take more supplies and after cleaning out my closet and my husband closet and buying more food... I got back and the tent city was destroyed.  Some of things I took the first time was scattered about as if they had to leave in a hurry or something came and scared them away.  I wandered around trying to find clues as to where they could have gone.  I went to a few homeless areas and asked around.  I was told that the police often make homeless people move because it is an "eye sore" and people don’t want to be bothered.  I wanted to be bothered.  I started doing more research and found that at any given time 250,000 veterans are homeless.  I also started looking at what some other cities are doing and there are organizations out here buying permanent homes and opening them up to veterans.  This is what I want to do I want to acquire homes and use them to house vets.  This is what I will do.  I have made contact with almost everyone I know and have people willing to donate their time and money to help purchase foreclosed ad tax liens homes to make them livable and move vets into them.  We also want to help with VA benefits and help with things like wheel chairs and prosthetics but in order to claim benefits and receive most social service help you need an address.  We need to start there first.  We need to address the issues that people drive past every day.  It is the right thing to do.  It is the only way we distinguish ourselves as the good people we are.  We plan to build a 501 3(c) and try to use some tax savings to purchase a few homes, a transport van for appointments, modest furniture, and other things that may be needed.  But most importantly the address is needed to receive benefits and other help.  Most of these guys cannot live at home with family as they suffer from a host of mental illnesses, medical needs, and is maladjusted to being around too many people.  But if they can form a family on the streets then why not in a home.  Whatever you can give would be appreciated even a dollar.  Thank you and God bless you for reading my testimony.  5% of all donations will go back to this site to keep it free.  People start go fund me accounts for cars and surgery but we cannot overlook the help needed at home and the Federal Government is not moving fast enough we must do this for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters at arms.  Please share this story on your social media platforms because even if you cannot afford to give perhaps one of your friends can donate a modest amount.
 
Thank you,
God Bless,
 

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Campaign Created by:
Homes for Homeless Vets Alton, IL Follow

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