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Air Force vet lives on streets over fears of coronavirus in NYC shelters

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Tyrone Roark served his country for nearly a decade — and now he fears that coronavirus will leave him on the curb, living in a cardboard box.
A diabetic with hypertension, Roark‘s too afraid to stay in a shelter where coronavirus cases jumped from 1 to 30 over the last week.
“I am high-risk. I shouldn’t be exposed,” the 59-year-old told The Post.
The vet, who also worked for the Veterans Administration in New York doing legal outreach, lost his two-bedroom apartment after suffering from a heart attack and stroke last year.
He’s currently holed up at the Hudson River Hotel on West 36th St., but that’s shutting down this weekend because of the outbreak.
“Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? Crawl under a cardboard box or a rock or something?” he asked.
Roark served in the Air Force at Misawa in Japan for nine years in the 1980s and 1990s. He later earned his bachelor’s in economics from the University of Illinois and worked the military contractor DYNCorp. in Qatar.
He faces an uncertain future because an application for an apartment in Far Rockaway, Queens, was scuttled because of the coronavirus.
A housing coordinator from an emergency shelter in Brooklyn called Patriot First, who was assisting Roark with the application, stopped returning emails. A rep for Patriot First declined to comment.
Roark filled out a form online, but is still waiting to secure an apartment with a voucher from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
Roark said he’s gotten no support from the VA. An agency spokesman said he was looking into the matter.
“There’s no indication that there are any kind of efforts currently in place to supply resources, information or support to our homeless veterans,” said James Fitzgerald, head of NYC Veterans Alliance.
“If we have this one vet that’s dealing with this situation, how many more are out there that have fallen throughout the cracks?” Fitzgerald said.
Late Wednesday, Fitzgerald secured a temporary room for Roark through his organization, but the former service member is still searching for a permanent home.
Read More:  Astrophysicist hospitalized while trying to invent coronavirus device

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