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First Person: Formerly Homeless Veteran

With Veterans Day one week away, we wanted to bring you the story of a veteran who suffered through homelessness. So we sent videographer Jeff Heimsath to interview Jeffery Anderson.

Anderson currently lives in Temple, and he served more than five years of active duty in the United States Army, including two tours in Iraq. But when his wife became ill when pregnant with their fourth child, she needed his help at home.

Anderson says he asked the Army to be placed on rear detachment for three months until the baby was delivered. But he was told to choose his family or the Army.

Anderson chose his family. He was discharged in January 2009, and wound up homeless. They burned through his $15,000 savings in a few months.

"You bend over backwards for the Army. You love it so much. You ask one thing, and they just kind of slap you down," he said.

After four months, he got desperate and called Veterans Affairs. Anderson was brought into the system, given health care, and a supportive housing voucher.

They helped him get into a home. But with four kids and no income, it took a few months.

Is he resentful? Anderson says "the military is the greatest place in the world. I absolutely loved all five years I was there."

But he also said: "The chain of command left me in a tight spot. I can't say anything nice that you're going to be able to air."

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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