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Naval, Marine vet forced to leave program for homeless vets
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A veteran of both the Navy and Marines, Mike Shepard was packing up everything he owns Thursday, leaving Battle Creek, but where he'll go, he’s not sure.
"I'm going to head north and brainstorm on my way...stay at a couple hotels," says Shepard.
Shepard is homeless and has post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer that's in remission. That's why he checked into a program for homeless veterans at the veterans hospital in Battle Creek six months ago.
The program is supposed to treat the medical issues and help them find jobs and a place to live. But he says more and more he’s seen that not happening.
"My main concern is there’s a lot of other veterans besides myself who are homeless and getting thrown out and don't have a place to go…where a person's going in homeless and coming out homeless, you're still not helping," says Shepard.
And Shepard also recently lost his brother who was also a veteran with PTSD. His brother took his own life just a few days after he was released from an Ann Arbor veterans hospital. And especially after that Shepard says he can't help but worry about what will happen to him.
"I'm very concerned with that...I still have nightmares every night, I don't sleep, it's a struggle every day," says Shepard.
The Battle Creek Veterans Hospital says it can't talk about specifics of why Mike has to leave.
This program for homeless veterans is a national program and the hospital says a typical stay is 90 to 120 days.
But a spokesperson for the Battle Creek facility could not tell us if most veterans leave with jobs and a place to live lined up.