12
Oct
08

179. Making This Country a Good Place for All

 

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.            Theodore Roosevelt

With the recent events of the past weeks and the staggering money placed into the financial markets, it is good to see that there is also being money being funded for those Americans who could really use a helping hand.  These Americans who I am referring to are our veterans who find themseves homeless. Unlike the CEOs of corporate America, our homeless veterans aren’t  asking for another million dollars in severance packages or an all expense vacation to a resort funded by our government .  In fact,many of our proud homeless veterans don’t ask for anything at all.  They are the men and woman who silently etch out survival amidst the urban sprawl or who live in the rural lands of our country.  WIthout a place to call home they have a life that  is lived day to day with the most meager of needs. Some of these veterans might find temporary shelter  within local comunitity shelters that offer a place to sleep and a meal. Others might  sleep out in the open enduring the elements. Although all our veterans  have been trained in survival skills, I doubt any of them envisioned that they would need to practice these skills when they returned to American soil. Having veterans living on the street isn’t good for our country . Having homeless veterans is a sign that we have failed as a nation in our moral obligation to all our troops.

 With the sharp rise in homelessness among our returning troops The VA has vamped up it’s services for our homeless veterans. This is a good thing as this is the government agency whose sole purpose is to oversee veteran affairs.The VA recently announced $36.7 million to fund 1526 beds for homeless veterans throughout national community organizations.

These grants provide a helping hand to veterans who have served our nation in uniform,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. “Our partnerships with community-based organizations provide safe, temporary housing while these veterans return to productive lives.”

I can’t think of a better way to invest in America than investing in  the welfare of our country’s people. And the VA should be commended on this intiative to address the follow through on our responsiblity to our veterans~it’s the right thing to do.

However, this is just brushing the surface of providing needed services for our veterans returning from combat. Wanderingvets has outlined the many debilatating ,service related injuries of our returning veterans that puts this generation of soldiers at risk for failing into homelessness. We as a nation have seen a sharp rise in homelessness during this current economic recession and the numbers of both veteran and non veteran homeless Americans will continue to rise. Currently, the official numbers of homeless veterans in the US by The VA is greatly underestimated due to the rise in numbers and the inaccurate methods for data collection.

Current population estimates suggest that about 154,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experince homelessness at some point during the course of a year.(Source:VA)

The 1526 beds that are being funded is less than 10% of the total beds needed to assure that all veterans have a bed to sleep in at night based on VA statistics. In other words, only 1 out of 10 of our homeless veterans can depend on receiving assistance from government VA services with this new funding. Some independent ,non government affiliated  statistics estimate that our homeless veteran population now is between 500,000-800,000! According to the Department of Veterans Affairs the current number of homeless Vietnam era veterans exceeds the number of fatalities that occurred during the war. The numbers are still not in on the veterans of the Middle East era ,but with the current trend there will be unprecedented numbers of veterans who find themselves homeless on American soil.

While the brave men and woman of our military have guarded our country and kept us safe, isn’t it our collective duty as a nation to repay these veterans by assuring that they may also find America a good place to call home?

 

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1 Response to “179. Making This Country a Good Place for All”


  1. October 13, 2008 at 1:06 am

    How sad that we send our nation’s men and women out to serve and when they come “back to the world” they find themselves forced to live on the fringes of society. This shows a complete disregard for their service to the nation, but more than that – it shows a lack of compassion and moral character on our part.

    If we want to be thought of as the greatest nation in the world, then we ought to begin behaving accordingly. Ignoring the needs of our homeless Veterans, violates the principles on which our nation was founded.


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