194. Taking Notice of Our Veterans…At Long Last!


“I have started to meet with, in veterans hospitals, homeless veterans” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, . “And they are every bit as homeless and every bit as tragic as any homeless vet we’ve ever had. We as a country should not allow that to happen.”
Navy Admiral Mike Mullen,Chariman Joint Cheif of Staffs

These were the words of Admiral Mullen as he voiced his concern about the population of our homeless veterans. I was actually delighted to read Admiral Mullen’s statement because it means that homeless veterans are receiving long overdue attention. Actually, there has been quite a bit of government activity lateley regarding our homeless veterans in the media .

Let’s start with some potentially good news regarding homeless veterans. There are several bills that have passed in Congress over the past weeks that will benefit homeless veterans if passed in the Senate:

H.R. 1171, Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) Act
, would reauthorize the HVRP program for five years through Fiscal Year 2014. HVRP provides grants to assist homeless veterans in job placement through services such as classroom training, job preparation, and vocational counseling. To support and stabilize homeless veterans prior to addressing employment goals, HVRP grantees also provide supportive services and referrals to necessary treatment services, counseling, and housing assistance. According to the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Urban Institute, 1999), veterans account for 23% of all homeless people in America.

H.R. 1377 would expand veterans’ health benefits by allowing the Department of Veteran Affairs to reimburse veterans who receive emergency care at non-VA facilities. In addition, the bill would require VA to pay for health conditions not related to military service in the event a third-party insurer does not cover the full cost of care.

H.R. 1513, Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act
would provide a cost-of-living adjustment and increase the rates of disability compensation for veterans with service-related disabilities. The measure also would increase the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of veterans with certain service-related disabilities.

These bills have been passed by the House of Representatives and will passed to The Congress for a vote and finally to President Obama for final approval. Needless to say these bills are important pieces of legislation for addressing the needs of all our veteran in this country. My personal opinion is that these bills should be a “given” to move forward in actions that offer more services to our veterans..or so I thought until I read this article, Keep The Promise to American Veterans, that gives a different agenda of the focus in Washington DC.

The story of the White House proposal emerged after a meeting between the president and veterans groups Monday. It was initially covered by only one major news organization. According to the few available details, a soldier’s private insurance company would have been required to reimburse the VA for medical costs, including those stemming from combat-related injuries.

Veterans groups, including the American Legion, were apoplectic, saying that veterans would face huge new costs, and greater difficulty finding insurance. By Wednesday evening, the proposal was dead. While the White House deserves credit for killing it, it deserves all the criticism it has received for floating the idea in the first place.

Needless to say, this isn’t the spirit of support needed by our current administration to make gains in the area of veterans issues. Hopefully, our representatives will realize the obligation our country has in supporting our veterans and assure that each and every veteran has support,especially those who currently are living without a home.

The government assumes a lifelong responsibility to treat the wounds of every man and woman injured fighting for it.

I believe it is time to live up to the responsibility of taking care of our veterans. If you also share this opinion I urge you to contact your Senators to share your voice in letting our veterans know that we value their service to our country by taking notice & taking responsibility.

A very special thanks goes to SLO Homeless for his unwaivering support and friendship of Wanderingvets. This friend is a homeless advocate & veteran who has always graciously shared information about veterans issues whenever they pass his way. ~AnAmerican


1 Response to “194. Taking Notice of Our Veterans…At Long Last!”

  1. April 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I work at an agency serving those who are homeless and have medical needs. The number of veterans in this situation is truly alarming. I am glad, as you are, that the situation is somewhat better now than before. Still, vets deserve better care than they’re getting.

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