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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Many U.S. Iraq War vets return to homelessness

NEW YORK (AP) - As a member of the U.S. army National Guard, Nadine Beckford
patrolled New York City train stations after Sept. 11, 2001 with a 9 mm
pistol, then served a treacherous year in Iraq.

Now, six months after returning, Beckford lives in a homeless shelter.

"I'm just an ordinary person who served. I'm not embarrassed about my
homelessness because the circumstances that created it were not my fault,"
said Beckford, 30, who was a military-supply specialist at a base in Iraq
that was a sitting duck for around-the-clock attacks.

Thousands of U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing a
new nightmare - the risk of homelessness. The U.S. government estimates
several hundred vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are homeless on any
given night across the country, although the exact number is unknown.

The reasons that contribute to the new wave of homelessness are many: some
are unable to cope with life after daily encounters with insurgent attacks
and roadside bombs; some can't navigate government red tape; others simply
don't have enough money to afford a house or apartment.

They are living on the edge in towns and cities big and small from
Washington state to Florida. But the hardest hit are in New York, because
housing costs "can be very tough," said Peter Dougherty, head of the
Homeless Veterans Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Former army Pte. 1st Class Herold Noel had nowhere to call home after
returning from Iraq last year. He slept in his Jeep, parked anywhere in New
York "where I wouldn't get a ticket."
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read_more...Print Story - canada.com network

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