Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Capital Region

What's next for troops who return home?

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Albany/HV: What's next for troops who return home?
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President Barack Obama is expected to announce a plan to withdraw 34,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013. It's an announcement that has many wondering what will happen once they get here. Karen Tararache tells us about one organization whose core mission is to provide services to veterans with nowhere else to go.

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- "It's like a roller coaster feeling. You're excited, but you're anxious," said Kathy Dunlop.

It’s a sentiment families with loved ones serving overseas can relate to.

Budd Mazurek, Executive Director Saratoga Rural Preservation Co., added, "There are very few people in the military, and I am a veteran myself, that like war, that want to see war so if we can get this thing ended and bring the troops home, it's a great thing for us."

However, the real battle for some begins back at home.

"Many of the veterans come back from theater of operations, Iraq, Afghanistan, they have relationship problems. They find they can’t get work and all that eventually leads to homelessness," Budd said.

The Vet Help program currently provides transitional housing for veterans who also receive food, clothing and other services for up to two years.

"Once women start to believe that they have entitlements, as far as being vets, and that they have resources at their fingertips, moving forward is an easier transition," added Case Manager Leigha Martin.

As a Naval vet, Kathy Dunlop felt helpless when she landed in the Capital Region after serving.

"I couldn't figure out my way out of a paper bag. I was turning in circles trying to figure out what to do."

Homeless for more than two decades, Dunlop is now employed, has a new car and a good feeling about the future.

"When you're homeless, you feel like you don't matter and this place takes away that feeling." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP