House GOP proposed cuts put vets programs at risk

March 23, 2011 7:23:45 PM PDT
Sen. Barbara boxer, D-Calif., came to San Francisco on Wednesday to try and put a face on the Republicans proposed spending cuts.

Republicans in Congress are pushing for cuts in federal spending touting the deficit and talking about laying a huge debt on the nation's children. Democrats are working to counter that image with the stories of those who will be hurt if federally funded social programs are cut back or eliminated.

"This is where my substance abuse took its worst toll on me," former drug addict and homeless veteran Hobert Lee said.

Lee spent five years living on the streets of the Tenderloin District in San Francisco hustling for drugs -- heading for prison.

"I have one conviction for methamphetamine that sent me to San Quentin," he said.

The honorably discharged Marine was a convict, an addict and HIV positive.

"And when I got released, I went straight to the parole officer and said i can't do this anymore," he said.

He got help, a place to live at a transitional housing project run by Swords to Plowshares, got clean, got into school and now is back on the streets this time working to help counsel other vets.

"I work with homeless vets in the peer navigator project," he said.

Boxer heard about Lee and when she came to San Francisco's Ferry Building for a news conference, she brought him along.

"The program that inspired me to do this press conference is the housing voucher program," she said.

Boxer says the republican budget proposed in the House would cut funding for 10,000 homeless vets.

"And they've completely slashed that," she said.

A spokeswoman for the program says it will eliminate housing for vets.

"For them to come home and not have a place, or not have the opportunity for a place to live would just be a shame," Colleen Corliss from Swords to Plowshares said.

At this point, a compromise on the federal budget looks a long way off.


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