Nov 6, 2010 12:43 AM by Matt Stafford

Soldier gets help getting off the streets

The hassles of moving are only happiness for Jesse Thomas, an Iraq combat veteran who's been homeless for months; including the last five that he's had his son, Jah-mere.

"This is the car seat that I had for him when we slept in the car and these two baby blankets are the only two blankets that we actually own," explains Thomas.

Hopefully the days of sleeping in the car are behind them. Through help from Veterans Affairs, they were able to get Thomas things his baby needs, but most importantly a roof over their heads.

A local non profit, Home Front Cares, helped make the payments to get Thomas and his son in the apartment. They're hearing stories like Thomas' all too often.

"The need is great, probably greater this year than in prior years," says April Speake, executive director of Home Front Cares.

Last year they were able to give out $1 million dollars in assistance to people in Colorado; but with more need this year, and a steady stream of soldiers coming home, they're feeling the effects of the economy too -- not having as much to help with.

"This year is about 30 percent lower than last year's budget," explains Speake.

For Thomas, it's been his P.T.S.D. that he says has made it tough to adjust after coming home from Iraq. He, like others, had trouble asking for help, but now he's getting over that.

"I would have been selfish not to ask for help, because it's not just me but also him," says Thomas, looking back at his decision in retrospect.

Now that he has gotten help, the roof over his head gives him hope for the future; not just for himself, but more importantly his son.

Thomas even has more help waiting. Soon he'll be going through a program to work on his P.T.S.D., all expenses paid. Then he says he'll look at going to school. Thomas says he would like to be a teacher.

To find out more about The Home Front Cares, click here.


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