Veteran Finally Gets Home of His Own

Steve Sacre left home at 17 to join the Army. He spent five and a half years in the service, serving 12 months as a gunner on a jeep escorting convoys in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, he used opium and pot "so [he] could climb up on that jeep every day because you knew someone was going to get blown up."

Since then, he has spent 32 of his 62 years behind bars, battling drug and alcohol addiction. The rest of his days have been spent either in homeless shelters, living under bushes or sleeping on the occasional friend's couch.

On a Friday in late October, he moved into an apartment, his first home in 45 years.
"This is my first real home," Sacre told the Albany Democrat Herald.

Mr. Sacre is one of many veterans who has battled addiction, homelessness and other issues. As we honor them on Veterans Day, it should be noted that veterans constitute as much as 25 percent of America's homeless population. The Veterans Administration has recently announced a $3 billion plan to help the more than 100,000 homeless veterans. For those who have served since September 2001, the unemployment rate is nearly double that of other veterans.

After leaving the military, Sacre returned to his hometown of Salem, Oregon, burglarizing drug stores for barbiturates and stimulants. In January 1974, he said he was involved in a shoot-out with Salem police, for which he served 10 years.

He will cover his $142-a-month rent with his Social Security Insurance checks. His only furniture in the living room (so far) are a webbed lawn chair, a stool and an old analog television set.

Sacre says he would still be on the streets if it were not for Judith Hamilton with the InReach Clinic in Albany and Robin Schaeffer, a program advisor for Senior Disabilities Services with the Oregon state Department of Human Services.

Sacre says he no longer uses drugs or alcohol; his days are mostly spent dealing with problems associated with cirrhosis of the liver. His doctors say he should have died months ago but, at least for now, he has a home of his own and friends who care enough to visit him there.

Source: Man homeless for about 45 years gets apartment via Huffington Post
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