Local homelessness group offers services for veterans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – This weekend as we continue to honor veterans, a local group that helps the homeless is doing the same.

But, for one member of that organization, it’s personal.

“Tomorrow is actually the anniversary of my father’s passing and he was a Vietnam veteran,” Marissa Brown, volunteer with the Who I Am Foundation said.

It’s a national group that helps the homeless with a local office.

“When he came back there wasn’t much treatment out there for PTSD and things like that so he did carry that through his life” Brown explained.

Marissa is just one of dozens of volunteers and homeless people who spend their Saturday mornings at Coronado Park.

“My dad was periodically homeless throughout his life and many of the people that we see here are veterans and they’re homeless and they just can’t get the resources they need,” Brown said.

Every other Saturday, the Who I Am Foundation distributes care packages for the homeless.

On this day, there’s also resources, like the Veteran Crisis line.

“That can be so invaluable, just the chance to talk and vent for five to 10 minutes can help and hopefully save a life,” Brown said.

A handful of groups looking to help, pass out food and clothing at the park weekly or every few months.

“The city has a good program for feeding the homeless but on the weekend there’s not much for them,” Stephen Zawkiewicz, Sagebrush Church said.

“It’s everywhere, just when you are driving down the road, you see homeless people on the street constantly and so being able to come out here and really love them and show them that they’re people too is just a privilege,” Lindsay Anders, volunteer said.

“We do come across a lot of veterans and some of them do want the help, some of them don’t want the help, because they are traumatized,” Will Williams, Help the Homeless Initiative said.

“I think what they do out here is a great thing for everybody,” Troy Shelby, said. He is a veteran and is homeless.

He says especially as the temperatures drop, these services mean a lot.

“It gives you a sense that you’re not completely forgotten,” Shelby said.

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