Verify: Is there more to the story of the homeless twins?

Twin homeless veterans Gary and Clifford Koekoek received an outpouring of support after our story detailing their struggle with homelessness aired last week.

The twins, 84, have been homeless for the past two years, forced to sleep primarily in their car after their longtime residence was foreclosed on. The property listed under their names was repossessed in 2015, according to information available through Trulia.

Since the story aired, donations poured in to a GoFundMe page intended to secure housing for the brothers, and Veterans Affairs was rumoured to be assisting the twins.

Tara Ricks, the Chief Public Information Officer for Veterans Affairs of Northern California, confirmed that the VA is working with the brothers, but could not provide specifics due to privacy concerns.

The GoFundMe page set-up for the brothers by a friend has far surpassed its original goal of $25,000, hitting approximately $125,000 in 8 days.

While many were touched by the story, a number of viewers contacted us, saying the two have been the source of numerous disturbances in the area. We looked into these claims and found that there are no records of criminal court cases for either brother within Sacramento County, though Sheriff’s Department spokesman Tony Turnbull said that a mobile home park owner in Orangevale did issue the brothers a trespass notice about two weeks ago.

As of Thursday, July 27, donations on the GoFundMe had been suspended while an attorney was brought in to help the brothers set up a trust. Aaron Hoerner, the friend of the twins behind the GoFundMe page, requested that further donations be directed to “a local veteran’s fund” instead.

Verify sources:
Tony Turnbull, Sheriff’s Department spokesman
Tara Ricks, Chief Public Information Officer for Veterans Affairs of Northern California

Verify resources:
Property history
GoFundMe page

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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