Missing In America — Homeless Veterans

Thomas Brown, Veteran Outreach Coordinator

May 30, 2013

By Kevin Brady, for the Observer News.
Pictured above is Thomas Brown, Veteran Outreach Coordinator for Tampa Crossroads.

Less than 200 feet from a bustling Brandon parking lot, homeless veterans camp in the woods. Surviving on half-eaten meals from dumpsters, sleeping in ramshackle tents, they exist in a twilight world, living on the edge of a society they served in uniform.

There are 10 to12 homeless camps in the Riverview and Brandon area, according to Thomas Brown, an outreach coordinator for Tampa Crossroads who visits three to four homeless camps daily. Tampa Crossroads offers treatment, housing, employment and other services for vets.

“There’s a perception out there that homeless veterans are all drug addicts and alcoholics but that is not the way it is,” Brown said. “I know people who were successful in law enforcement and health care who are now living on the streets. They are just like anyone else but they have fallen on hard times. They want to be successful but they have numerous obstacles in their way.”

More than 2,200 men, women and children will sleep in the woods, cars or abandoned buildings tonight, according to a Hillsborough County Homeless Coalition. Around 170 of those are veterans, according to the federally mandated homeless count which was conducted last month. The real number is higher, experts say. […]

[vector_icon icon=”external-link”]  Read the full article at the Observer News

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