29
Nov
07

83.The 121,000 Missing Veteran Cover Up

Congressman Buyer 

In 2004 the Veterans Administration dramatically reduced the number of homeless veterans it was counting from 313,000 to a lowly 194,000 in a report in front of then Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee Congressman Steve Buyer just said “OK”.

In article 79. I showed that the VA currently has over 144,000 beds for homeless veterans available that are ALL FULL with none available and yet the streets are over flowing with homeless veterans still. Why would this be? Could it be there are more homeless veterans than the Veterans Administration is willing or wanting to report?

It should also be known, that the number of homeless veterans has not changed since 2005 either. I guess the VA has just quit counting or just really does not want to know. I have volunteered to be counted and made sure personally that my VA records denote that I am homeless so the records should at least be showing now 194,001.

When it comes to homeless veterans we have allowed this issue to go too far for far too many years. This issue has been out there since the 1970’s. It was not until 1987 that the VA instituted a program for Homeless Veterans. In 2004 the number was 313,000 veterans. In 1987 when the CHALENG Program was started there was around 250,000. The number was climbing higher for Homeless Veterans and not dropping! The Program was failing! The number was lowered because Congress told the VA to lower that number by 2009 (in other words get it together over there). So what did the VA do? They lowered it on paper by typing in a new lower number. And then justified it by saying that the number was from HUD.  I wonder why some congressional staffer never checked that number because it does not exist at all over at HUD. The VA explained that HUD tried to count homeless in two cities (Atlanta and Los Angeles by hiring other homeless to help them) and then guestimated the rest. I am also figuring out now that the VA is only going to use census figures to estimate the homeless veterans now. That means the figures will only be updated every five years. By 2010 there will only be about 1,000 homeless veterans left according to the VA and will be declared nearly extinct. The programs will then be shut down to preserve this part of our National Heritage. I wished life was just that easy. Oh by the way I guess a few VA careers were saved too! How did we get so lucky.

When it came to any of these beds I have not been offered a single one. I have told to run to a shelter and get in line with the general homeless. I have never been offered any program nor counseling outside of “you need to get off the streets” I have never been offered any assistance by any “program clinician” as the VA states that they have actively seeking to help a homeless veteran. If the VA is using Goodwill Industries for Job Training of Veterans I wonder if a Fast Food Technician program has been reviewed by the VA yet.

The homeless veteran program at the VA as I am learning is a very destructive program and needs seriously overhauling along with the rest of the Veterans Administration unfortunately. To not have to explain ones actions before an oversight committee and just blithely go on about being a destructive force in peoples lives is horrid. They use the term falling through the cracks, and one can understand if that happened to one or two unfortunately. But on the massive scale that it happens with the VA it is completely mentally overwhelming. It happens in the tens of thousands.

Being on the street level, I see the neglected Warriors and we talk. Some are so gone mentally now they will never return to society. But what options do they have now? The VA has allowed them to molder out there for 8 to 10 years or longer without care. A lot of these homeless veterans are self medicating PTSD sufferers. The homeless have a problem as having no addresses, points of contact, no fixed positions due to harassment from police to move their camps. Besides helping the Homeless means the VA would have to do something and they do not want to do that anyways since they would have to acknowledge there is a problem.

Now that leads me to all of my good friends at the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).  You could have been for years assisting here of course instead of sitting in the club house tossing those beers back. How about helping out here and maybe setting up a mail drop or something for these guys, or getting your Veterans Service Officers moving and helping some of these guys out, and I do not mean putting on a dinner for them either unless it going to be something that is a sustained effort! How about turning one of those baseball fields into a place where the homeless veterans can have a safe place to stay!

I do not pick on these organizations! I am trying to rally them into action! These are brothers in arms, Veterans! These organizations were founded to help veterans. And this is a Call To Arms!

I have learned this issue from walking the roads of this Country as a Homeless Veteran, wandering the halls of VA Hospitals, reading VA Reports and Memos, Congressional Reports and talking with Homeless Veterans and going to Operation Stand Downs. I have experienced Cruelty at the hands of others as well as just acts of kindness of such magnitude that the thoughts of them still make me a believer in God and Mankind. I have faith everyday that every minute of life can bring changes and that we all have to have faith in that.

By the way, if anyone happens to find about 121,000 stray homeless veterans, send them my way please as I need to get them to the nearest VA!

Wanderingvet

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1 Response to “83.The 121,000 Missing Veteran Cover Up”


  1. November 29, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    If you go to my web site, you will see the numbers from the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans. It proves you are right. When you look at the numbers then and last year, there are a lot of them gone from the records.
    I have no doubt a lot of them died but not over a hundred thousand of them. What is worse is the way they are counted. Some veterans don’t even want to admit they are veterans when they are homeless. They want nothing to do with the government at all. Can you blame them?

    Well Kathie if there is not a strong voice it will never be heard. If it is never heard then nothing will ever be done about it. We need leaders and leadership on this issue and as I have said before we need to line up for more than the food line at Operation Stand Downs. We need Point Men in every community putting pressure where it is needed! The numbers are lowest in the regions where VA services are the slimmest if you may notice in the counting. Also if you look at CHALENG reports those lower number regions also have the least services for the homeless veterans and thus tend to under report.

    Wanderingvet


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