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Arizona lawmaker to live on street to support veterans

State Rep. Mark Cardenas. (Photo: Mark Cardenas)

State Rep. Mark Cardenas plans to spend three nights in an overflow parking lot next to a Phoenix shelter to raise money and awareness to keep the women's section of the MANA House open.

The section houses 16 women veterans who get specialized treatment to become successful.

"If this facility doesn't stay open where women veterans who are suffering from PTSD, sexual assault and other trauma that they're able to identify and treat at this center, they'll be back on the street," said Cardenas.

The Phoenix Democrat who represents District 19 served alongside women in the Army and said one had a major influence on his life.

"My mentor who trained me from being a 19-year-old person who was just out of high school and knew nothing about the world to helping me become a soldier, helping me to become an adult, where she was one of the greatest mentors I ever had," said Cardenas.

The MANA (Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force) House is a transitional facility where veterans can stay for up two years. The women's section opened last March and Cardenas said it needs $50,000 to stay open through September.

Donations are being accepted and Cardenas also sent a letter to Gov. Jan Brewer requesting that she release emergency funding.

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