I have a very unique perspective on veteran homelessness, because at one time I was a homeless veteran. I was literally sleeping on the streets of Jacksonville, FL. I moved into a homeless shelter for veterans and was in and out of there several times before I got my life headed in the right direction. To understand what happened to me and how I became a homeless veteran I will start from the beginning.
I joined the Army in the summer of 2001 and was deployed with the 2nd Ranger Battalion to Afghanistan in 2002 and then to Iraq in 2003 with the 82nd Airborne Division. I saw heavy combat during my two tours. I was injured and was medically discharged in 2004 with a metal plate and six screws in my right leg. Looking back on the years following my discharge from the Army they seem like a big blur. These were years filled with heavy drinking. This was the only way I felt like I could cope with my PTSD.
I would get my life straightened out for a while and then I would screw things up all over again. Why was it I couldn’t seem to get my life on the right track? I fought for my country. So why was I now a homeless veteran? Those two words HOMELESS VETERAN should never be uttered in the same sentence. The fact that they are says to me that we have a big problem in this country that needs to be addressed.
We have a duty as Americans to fight for the men and women of the military that fought for our freedoms. We need to ban together and help in any way we can and make sure there are no more homeless veterans.