Milwaukee Veteran working to get back on his feet with help of local group

Tools

by Matt Doyle

MILWAUKEE -- Combine cold, snowy weather with the holiday's and it's a tough time for homeless veterans. One man hit rock bottom and is slowly fighting back.

"I'm clean and sober and I'm still trying to fight to get to the right things," Arthur "T.J." Jones said.

It's been a long road for Jones.  He served in the US Army from the late 70s to the early 80's.  He was forced to leave because of a back problem - something he's struggled with his whole life.

That's not the only thing he struggled with though.

"I'm not ashamed to tell anyone I'm a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I'm not ashamed of it, I've come a long ways."

That long road got more difficult earlier this year.

"Me and my daughter became homeless a while back."

"They literally had nothing at that point," Tracey Sperko from Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative said.

Jones fell on hard times and was back in the VA hospital.   He had no home, little money, and not much going for him.

That's when he connected with the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.

"Gave me a new start in life.," he said proudly.  "Helped me get a place and furniture in my home and food on my table."

He feels for those stuck without a place to go all the time - especially though when winter rolls in.

"Trying to get around in this weather, trying to stay warm, it's hard."

Now Jones and his daughter are working to start a new life together.  He's looking to go back to school and find a new career. His daughter wants to become a model.

"Oh, God, it is so great," Jones said.  "[It] Brought that light and put it in my heart so I can feel this cheer, and it feels good."

For the organizers, they might take away just as much as the people they're helping.

"Many of the families that we have here, they've taught me so much," Sperko said.

The Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative is still taking donations - right now they're in need of  kitchen tables with chairs, twin bed frames, and dressers. 

Poll

Do you think the City of Milwaukee should bail out Boston Store?

  • Yes
  • No