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Homeless veterans once again search for new home

A homeless veterans' camp is once again looking for a new home after ADOT told them they had to leave state property.

MESA, Ariz. - A homeless veterans camp is once again looking for a new home.

Alpha Base, which used to be called "Camp Alpha" is currently located on Arizona Department of Transportation property just off of the Loop 202 and McKellips.

ADOT gave the camp until Monday, March 20, to evacuate due to safety issues.

Veterans and organizers alike say the camp and its residents are misunderstood.

The camp is a transitional camp.

"So if they want into housing, some of them take six months to get into housing, but they get into housing," said Jeff Kagan, who is with Veterans on Patrol, an organization working with the camp.

Kagan said veterans bring a positive change to any community they spend time in.

"While we're in the area, we clean up trash. We protect businesses. We do security, so it's kind of a benefit for the community as well. The homeless has a stereotype of: They're slobs, they're a mess and they're no benefit, but in the end of the day we change that. We make a benefit to society," said Kagan.

Sunday afternoon, veterans were packing up from their Mesa location.

A private property owner gave them permission to stay near 19th Avenue and Camelback for the next 60 days. After that, the vets will be on the search again for a permanent home-- which they hope they will find in a property owner who wants to work with the veterans.

"We're looking for a property owner that's willing to stand up for the veterans, allow us to be on the property, and help with the transition process," said Kagan.

Meanwhile, if you want to help, "just come on out. Show your support for our vets," said Kagan.

Vets need donations: Gas cards, gift cards, and especially water and ice.

The best way to get in contact with the veterans is through the camp's facebook page.

ADOT sent 12 News the following statement in regards to the move:

"Out of concern for the health, safety and well-being of those at the site, ADOT on Feb. 24 notified occupants that they will need to move on from the encampment near the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway and McKellips Road in Mesa. When organizers requested more time, ADOT moved the effective date back to Monday, March 20.The State of Arizona is committed to protecting veterans and helping break the cycle of homelessness. Since this camp moved onto ADOT property on Dec. 6, the state’s desire has been to assist the individuals in this area by helping to find them shelter and assistance. With that goal in mind, teams from the state have visited on multiple occasions to offer assistance to veterans and others."

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