TEMPLE, Texas – Jake Porter served in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years, and the last place he thought he would end up is homeless. But he says sadly, he’s found this to be common among vets in Central Texas.

Many live in wooded areas in Bell County, often lacking shelter and protection. 

“I was surprised with how many fellow vets were out here. And they kind of took me under their wings,” Porter says.

“Some of the guys have been on the streets for a while. It was almost three years ago when my homelessness started here in Temple,” Porter says.

Porter says several different issues cause veterans to live on the streets that make it hard for them to get assistance. 

“Legal issues, or mental conditions, paranoia, schizophrenia, PTSD, stuff like that keeps them from wanting to have their voice heard or seeking out assistance because they hardly like to even get out and show their face,” Porter says.

His hope at this point is that organizations devoted to help and assist veterans, many who are homeless, can begin to change the narrative here in Central Texas.

“There’s a lot of federal dollars and grants and things that are coming down for homeless veterans. I just wish it was more accessible to us the actual folks that are out here in these camps,” Porter says.

Dozens who have served our country in wars are left with no resources and a lack of trust when it comes to those who can help.

“Vietnam veterans have been homeless, a lot of them have given up with life and they don’t know where to go for help. So they’re out there. And when they do see help, they don’t believe it. They don’t trust it,” Watts says. 

Code of Vets brought this issue to our attention. U.S. Air Force Veteran Gretchen Smith started the non-profit organization in her father’s name. If you would like to help them in their mission to get help for thousands of homeless vets across the country, visit their website.