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Group helping homeless vets could get evicted

Posted at 4:49 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 19:12:59-05
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - There is a cold wet week ahead.  That'll make life tough for people who live on the streets.
 
In Sierra Vista a group dedicated to helping homeless veterans has set up camp in an open field in the center of town, but the group's on land owned by the state.
 
They could get it evicted.
 
Sierra Vista has services to help homeless people but a group called Veterans on Patrol is making a special effort to seek out homeless vets. They offer them food, clothes and the connections they need to find a place to live.
 
Jesse Walsh with Veterans On Patrol says, "we will go out, walking the desert, doing whatever we can to find them.  We will ask them if they're homeless veterans or not.  We actually have connections at the VA to allow us to know if they're telling the truth of not."
 
Veterans on Patrol has had an operation in Tucson for several months but there a local business let the group set up on private land.
 
The State of Arizona owns this land in Sierra Vista and that could force the group out.
 
Sierra Vista's City Manager and Police Chief say Veterans on Patrol has been peaceful.
 
The city's even provided a dumpster because the group has been cleaning up trash other people left on the land.  But the city's still waiting to hear when the State Land Department will order the group off the state land.
 
Charles Potucek, Sierra Vista City Manager says, "I get the sense they'll be back within a couple weeks to go over the situation when Mayor Mueller and I met with the group yesterday to mayor committed to writing a letter to Lisa Atkins the director of the State Land Department asking for some time."
 
If Veterans on Patrol does have to pack up this camp, the organizers hope someone with private land will come forward to help keep the mission on track.