Episode: Street Vets

Original Airdate: 
January 2011

One in three homeless men in America is a military veteran. 46 percent of these homeless veterans served in the Vietnam era.

The numbers stand in sharp contrast to patriotic promises to remember and honor our veterans. A nation's best intention was seemingly lost on thousands of men who never fully returned from the battle lines.

One in three homeless men in America is a military veteran. 46 percent of these homeless veterans served in the Vietnam era.

In Street Vets, a powerful, one-hour documentary, filmmaker Issac Goeckeritz takes viewers into the largely invisible world of homeless veterans in Utah and their difficult, but hopeful, pathways home.

For a year, Goeckeritz followed 10 men living in Ogden, Utah's Homeless Veterans Fellowship, a transitional housing program aimed specifically at the Vietnam Era vet. Street Vets focuses primarily on four of those men, providing a remarkably candid view of the long-term scars of war and personal tragedy that, in many cases, have led to PTSD, alcohol and drug abuse, and life on the streets.

While the film is a serious look at a serious subject, Goeckeritz says it also has a lot of humor. Says one of the men, "How do people define what normal is? I want a T-shirt that says, 'Normal people scare me' or 'Normal people are why I take medication.'"

Shot in natural light to achieve a rough look, Street Vets is really "about the characters in the film," says Goeckeritz. They range from a former drug addict who is now a drug and job counselor to a man who spent 25 years in prison.

"One had his guard up," says Goeckeritz. "It took him a long time to open up. He finally told me that when he was on vacation in Australia, he flipped the car, which killed his wife. He was drunk at the time. Of the 10 men in the film, three had their family die in a tragic car accident."

Goeckeritz's previous documentary work for KUED includes God in Utah, Uintah United and Ogden: Junction City of the West.

Rating: 
TVG
Length: 
55 minutes 59 seconds
Presented In: 
Widescreen
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