Archive for the 'Homeless Veterans' Category

15
Oct
09

208. New Era of Responsibility?

A transformed VA will be a high-performing 21st century department, a different organization from the one that exists today. Beyond the next five years, we’re looking for new ways of thinking and acting. We are asking why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, this Secretary had to adjudicate claims for service-connected disabilities that have now been determined presumptive. And why, 20 years after Desert Storm, we are still debating the debilitating effects of whatever causes Gulf War Illness. If we do not stay attuned to the health needs of our returning veterans, 20 or 40 years from now, some future Secretary could be adjudicating presumptive disabilities from our ongoing conflicts. We must do better, and we will.

General Eric Shimseki,

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Back in January Wanderingvets posted news of retired General Eric Shinseki taking the office as Secretary of Veterans Affairs .(Real Changes Ahead for Veterans Affairs?) With the confirmation of General Shinseki there was great hope that the VA would be revamped to better serve the needs of our growing veteran population. This week General Shinseki addressed Congress with a “State of the VA Message” that is the result of 9 months of assessments within the VA.

Out of my discussions with Veterans, three concerns keep coming through — access, the backlog, and homeless Veterans.

It would seem that General Shimseki has a very accurate pulse on the shortcomings that have been demonstrated with the current VA system.
From medical negligence to a long backlog of disability claims for veterans,the layers of improvements needed for treating our veterans with the services they deserve seems to have been identified.

It’s very encouraging to see the needs of our homeless veterans being acknowledged and addressed by the VA. With 25% of all homeless Americans being veterans this is an area that has been put on the back burner for too long. The current VA system does little to reduce the burden of homelessness for veterans and historically has let community organization bear the burden of providing for homeless veterans. Sadly, in this current economic climate community resources aren’t able to meet the growing needs of all homeless citizens and many of our veterans remain on the streets without shelter.A survey by the National Coalition for The Homeless shows that shelters for the homeless only provide shelter for less than 40% of people in need of basic services.  A previous statistic by the VA estimated 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. The VA claims this number is being reduced despite the overall rise in the homeless population in the US and the need for expanded VA services due to returning military from Iraq.

Veterans lead the Nation in homelessness, depression, substance abuse, and suicides. We now estimate that 131,000 Veterans live on the streets of this wealthiest and most powerful Nation in the world, down from 195,000 six years ago. Some of those homeless are here in Washington, D.C. — men and women, young and old, fully functioning and disabled, from every war generation, even the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will invest $3.2 billion next year to prevent and reduce homelessness among Veterans — $2.7 billion on medical services and $500 million on specific homeless housing programs. With 85 percent of homelessness funding going to health care, it means that homelessness is a significant health care issue, heavily burdened with depression and substance abuse. We think we have the right partners, the right plans, and the right programs in place on safe housing. We’ll monitor and adjust the balance as required to continue increasing our gains in eliminating Veteran homelessness. We are moving in the right direction to remove this blot on our consciences, but we have more work to do.

The men and women of the armed forces have been made a promise that if they defend our country in military service, we will provide them with the benefits they have earned. Sadly, the VA has fallen short on this promise to our Veterans on many accounts. Does this recent report to Congress mark a new era of responsibility  to our Veterans or will we continue to have the “blot” of  unkept promises on our consciences? Only time will tell.

14
Sep
09

207. Mobile VA Clinics for Tampa Veterans

mobile-outreach-clinic
Wanderingvets recently received this notification of mobile health services within the Tampa area:

James A. Haley Veterans hospital in Tampa Florida is pleased to announce the release of our new Mobile Outreach Clinic, It will be in our community delivering flu shots, homeless assistance, and so much more.

More information about services of this mobile clinic for the Tampa area can be found at The Department of Veterans’s Affairs/

18
Aug
09

206. 8 to 12 Hugs a Day?

hug

Dear Friends:

Today August 18th 2009 was a most dysfunctional reality check at the V.A.

One of my close ,old friends who is a long time Wanderingvets supporter and who is also aiding me while I am in North Carolina dealing with my health issues, picked me up this morning and drove me to the VA for a scheduled Compensation and Pension Examination.

Arriving promptly at 9AM for my scheduled appointment, I was surprisingly ushered right in to have my vitals checked, all good there (111/71 BP, 97.9 Temp). I was then whisked right across the hall to where I met a very nice PA-C (Certified Physician Assistant). It was all a roller coaster ride after that. Continue reading ‘206. 8 to 12 Hugs a Day?’

08
Jun
09

204. The Ghost of The Mind

thinking

 

When one finds themselves with too much time on their hands, old memories seep into ones consiciousness more and more. I understand these things first hand and I fear others will soon experience these same memories of better times with the  increase in unemployment and the number of foreclosed homes and displaced families.

 

It is not uncommon for me to reflect back upon my life, the woulda, shoulda, coulda’s of life in the past. Continue reading ‘204. The Ghost of The Mind’

02
May
09

199. How I find jobs for survival or It is OK to lie!

paycheck

Dear Friends:

Two years ago I lost my my income, home, most of my golfing buddies and all material goods due to the obliteration of the housing and mortgage industry in todays financial tail spins. I was an early casualty, as well as a well paid six-figure a year former company executive. My reputation was good enough during the 1990’s and 2000’s that if I wanted to change positions all I had to do was make a phone call and never miss a beat.

In the fall of 2007 that all changed. I was faced with many bills and zero income after a job loss and lost everything.  I was not the only one though. I called everyone I knew for positions, the industry was and is a terrible mess. I emailed hundreds of resumes to all sorts of companies. Unfortunately, unless you were entry level they did not want to talk to you. Being in my very early 40’s  and a former upper mid level management I was considered too skilled and had earned too much for them to want to take a risk on. I heard more “we cannot pay you what you were making”, “we feel you will get bored here”, “you have a lot of experience”, and basically “we are not currently looking for some who is so obviously over qualified”.

Upon realizing that many were applying for fewer positions and that I was no longer in the employment target market I tried elsewhere and really lowered my sights. Continue reading ‘199. How I find jobs for survival or It is OK to lie!’

01
May
09

198. Mr. Obama’s Faulty Logic

The All Seeing Eye

The All Seeing Eye

Dear Friends:

The other day I was watching President Obama in a press conference where he stated that he and his administration has created or saved over 150,000 jobs.  I said to myself, Damn that man cannot add or subtract. The next day Chrysler announced they were cutting between 8,500 to 11,ooo jobs in the next few days as well as letting go 13,ooo workers over the next three years. Mr. Obama has a problem with math as you will see…

That is just great since in his first 100 days in office his administration had lost over 2.7 million jobs and had a steady increase of foreclosed homes and increases in homelessness so far under his watch.

From The Bureau of Labor Statistics:

In March (2009), the number of unemployed persons increased by 694,000 to 13.2 million, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent.  Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has grown by about 5.3 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.4 percentage points. Half of the increase in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate occurred in the last 4 months.

Continue reading ‘198. Mr. Obama’s Faulty Logic’

30
Apr
09

197. Time To Take A Stand

Dear Friends:

As I live and work trying to recoup my life and livelihood I see others sinking into the mire of what happened to me a little while back. Having lost my income and livelihood due to recession and changes in the market I believe gives me a little bit of perspective into other aspects of what is going on in this nation. Continue reading ‘197. Time To Take A Stand’




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Wanderingvet@wanderingvets.com AnAmerican@wanderingvets.com

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