By Susan Knowles
It’s that wonderful time of the year! Christmas is just around the corner. Families will be gathered around warm fireplaces, children will be snuggled in their cozy beds and holiday food and good cheer will be shared by many.
However, this scenario is never the case for homeless veterans and there will be no chance of a happy ending for them and other homeless people if the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) in Phoenix follows through on their plan.
Many veterans face homelessness 365 days of the year while battling medical issues, mental health issues and an array of other troubling problems.
One group, Veterans on Patrol, an organization operating under the Good Samaritan Law, according to its founder Lewis Arthur, provides food, clothing, shelter and common decency to homeless warfighters and others living on the streets in Arizona. The group, run by veterans and non-veteran volunteers do not get paid and do not accept cash or checks as donations.
They are also responsible for the search and rescue of homeless veterans who may be suicidal. These high risk veterans need a place to stay and services from organizations who won’t search for them on the streets but will treat them at a VOP location.
The homeless live in tents and stay on the premises, picking up trash on the property by day while sleeping within the camp at night instead of on the streets where many veterans have been robbed or beaten by others in the past, according to Arthur.
The group that has gotten many veterans the care they need, including housing assistance, had hoped to bring a little Christmas cheer this year to the homeless they shelter.
Instead, they received word on Wednesday from ADOT that they must vacate the land they claim they have occupied for the past 16 months by Saturday or face possible arrest and charges for criminal trespass, Arthur said.
Since ADOT posted their “No Trespassing, No Dumping” sign recently warning homeless veterans and others they are trespassing and that “violators will be prosecuted,” homeless veterans have been immediately cut-off from vital VA assistance because VA personnel and other organizations will not risk being cited or arrested for trespassing, Arthur said.
VOP is not asking to stay on the land permanently. They are merely requesting a reasonable time to relocate their homeless warfighters, tents, and other equipment to a new location. They are asking ADOT not to displace homeless veterans before Christmas.
How heartless are we going to be? Veterans being booted out into the streets before Christmas or ever for that matter?
Is ADOT really going to kick homeless veterans and others out of their tents and onto the streets before the holidays? Why the rush when veterans have been living in makeshift tent cities for over a year on the property?
How could anyone or any organization do this to veterans?
Governor Doug Ducey are you aware of this?
Governor Doug Ducey at 602-542-4331, email@example.com, 1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Time is of the essence because veterans will once again be sleeping on unsafe streets if their “eviction” by the state is not halted.
This story has been written and used with permission from: http://susanknowles.com
One of the Vets on Patrol founder, Lewis Arthur most recently reported on Facebook that he has made contact with ADOT who informed him that the Department of Veterans Affairs and ADOT were working on a solution with his “group” however he has “yet to be contacted by anyone” from these organizations. Arthur stated, “ADOT is the Agency which PREVENTED the VA and CRRC from assisting us at our Camp” in the resent past.
To have a closer look online at the continued positive impact Alpha Base has made to our homeless veterans needing assistance and our Arizona public lands, please check out, like, and share the Alpha Base – Vets On Patrol public Facebook page. Or be the solution by getting out there in real life to visit the camp for a first hand look into this very unique and heartwarming situation.