Marine Corps vet and wife forced to live on the streets

William And Rebecca Brown.

Marine Corps veteran William Lee Brown and his wife Rebecca are making a last-ditch effort to get back on their feet. Trying to make their way to Elkhart, Indiana—that’s their simple short-term goal. The city is 900 miles away from where they are now in Mobile, Alabama.

It sounds very simple, but a few recent bumps in the road have made it extremely difficult for them to make ends meet. They want to make it clear — they understand there are plenty of people out there that are a lot worse off, but they’re still not ready to give up.

They’re not asking for a whole lot, just enough to help them make it to their new location in Indiana, get settled in, so they can start saving money for a place of their own.

The couple has been living and eating out of the back of trucks for the most part. They were forced to pack up whatever belongings they had left, and clear out of their apartment after falling three months behind on all their bills.

They need help getting their belongings up to Elkhart, as they plan to leave Mobile over the next weekend. They’ve gone to the VA for assistance but have just gotten the run around from the housing assistance program.   Brown says they were told to “go to the Salvation Army” by VA staff.

After they both lost their jobs over the summer – they’d been delivering pharmaceuticals to VA’s across the Southeast – things just spiraled out of control.

When their 2007 Nissan pathfinder was repossessed this past August they were able to go to the car lot and get an older vehicle which has essentially become their temporary home. But there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We like what we’re doing, we want to work… we just need a little help to make it through the next month or so.” Brown and his wife both do “runs” out of different hubs across the country transferring vehicles for individuals who are relocating.

“At times we use a blow-up mattress and put it in the back of the truck we are transporting for our company,” Brown said. “We take our showers at truck stops or at Planet Fitness where it was just cheaper to pay the $20 a month to give us that fail-safe option,” he added.

The couple fell on hard times after a series of unlucky events. “Back in 2010 I was fired form a job a week before Christmas. I had to file for bankruptcy and walk away from the home we lived in for seven years.” Things just got worse from there, Brown said, when a disgruntled employee at the law firm that was handling their bankruptcy case, intentionally re-filed so that their record now showed two bankruptcies instead of one. Once that case was cleared in 2012, it was already too late. The couple had sold everything they had after their attorney advised them to do so.

“When the time arose for us to discuss our affairs with our creditors the 2nd bankruptcy was already filed by accident and we had to relinquish all of our belongings to our creditors,” Brown said.

With their credit damaged, it was very hard to rebuild from that point. Then, a few deaths in the family just made things even harder. “Last year, we lost Rebecca’s mother who had suffered a stroke three years earlier.”

Despite being let down by the VA several times, Brown– who served during the Gulf War and was medically discharged — said turning to his military family just seemed like the right thing to do in this case.

If anyone will understand, I think they will. The government tells us time and time again: “no veteran should ever be homeless.” Well, now is the time to back up those words, he says.

Brown says it will only take about $500-$600 to help get the couple back to Indiana, where a great job is waiting for them. From there, he says “We want to just start saving so we can restore our good names and credit, and find a place of our own.”

Help William and Rebecca at Military Starter


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