Sunday, November 22, 2015

Iraq Homeless Veteran Coming Out of the Woods

Out of the Woods
Inside Nova
Jill Palermo
November 20, 2015

After living outside off and on for much of the last decade, Garrett, a local Iraq War vet, insists he had no plans to leave his Woodbridge homeless camp.
Garrett, who didn't want his last name used, lives in a homeless camp, but recently received a housing voucher through a federal program for veterans. By Delia Engstrom/For
Stubbornly independent, the broad-shouldered, 30-year-old Army reservist spent a year protecting military convoys behind an M240 machine gun in 2009. He was homeless before deploying overseas and returned to living outside after his marriage broke up in 2013.

Garrett, who asked that his last name not be printed, said he’d since grown accustomed to living in the woods. He has long refused to move back home to Manassas and didn’t like the idea of being tied down by a lease.

Then, two things changed his mind.

First, he told his Veterans Administration counselor that his homelessness was making it difficult to show up for counseling appointments to help with his post-traumatic stress disorder. Then, his girlfriend found out she was pregnant.

Thanks to the counselor, the first revelation helped Garrett obtain one of 30 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers allotted to Prince William County veterans who cannot afford to live indoors. The news that he would soon become a dad convinced him to take it.
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