Homeless veterans speak out on food stamp cuts - WNEM TV 5

Homeless veterans speak out on food stamp cuts

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Terry was a green beret who commanded 238 troops. For ten years he has lived in this tent relying on food stamps. Terry was a green beret who commanded 238 troops. For ten years he has lived in this tent relying on food stamps.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

On this Veterans Day, many veterans took part in celebrations, but for hundreds of local veterans, its just another night out in the cold.

These veterans did not take part in those parades or ceremonies, but are settled in homeless camps.

About nine veterans live in tents at one campsite off Ruthrauff Road. They rely on foodstamps and charity for survival.

From start to finish in this row of camps, it's about three quarters of a mile long along the Santa Cruz River.

"That's my house. Simple. Oh yeah, I got a nice bed," said discharged Army corporal Mike Goldade.

A few tents away, we found Vietnam veteran Terrence Sabin.

"I was a green beret," he said. "Commanded 38 special forces in Vietnam for three tours."

He's proud of his service, but said he is not so proud of where he has ended up today.

We asked, "So you commanded 238 troops. Is Veterans Day emotional for you?" 

After a long pause, he wiped his tears. "As you can tell.." he said.

This is the reality for hundreds of veterans in our community.

"I've been working with homeless veterans for three to four years.  I was one myself," said Cliff Wade with Veterans Serving Veterans.

Wade has dedicated his life to finding the veterans who are trying to hide in camps like this one. He said the toughest part is asking for help.

"It took me 29 years to go to the VA and ask for help," Wade said. "I was homeless for the 7th or 8th time before I asked for help."

Now what little they had is becoming even less. The government is talking about deeper cuts to the SNAP program, meaning less money in food stamps.

900,0000 veterans rely on foodstamps.

They were getting $200 a month. That breaks down to about $6 a day.

Many of these veterans are already seeing less money in their EBT cards.

"It's going to put more people out panhandling," Goldade said. "More people out with cardboard signs. Foodbanks are going to get hit more."

"This is all government idiocy," Sabin said. "Nobody knows what the right hand is doing and what the left hand is doing. Nobody knows."

Groups who are trying to help these veterans say many of them are addicted to drugs or alcohol. It's hard to get them into jobs and homes, but they continue to try and help them every day.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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