Archive for the 'Homeless Vets' 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.

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’

08
Dec
08

184. Foreclosures “Bail Out” Homeless

 

Foreclosure Squatting

 

 (Max Rameau stands in front of foreclosed property:Source AP)

 

 

At the heart of the issue of homelessness is the scarity of resources available to help the growing numbers of homeless Americans.  The homeless population in America has never been as diverse as it is in our current time.  Due to the recent economic climate we are seeing an unprecedented rise in homelessness that includes a diverse group of veterans, the middle class,women& children and people who are employed but who cannot afford housing. The causes behind each story of homelessness  is varied but all our homeless citizens share one common theme: they face grim prospects for finding shelter and supportive services on a daily basis during the current economic recession.


Where do people go when they loose their homes or are unable to pay for rent? 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.  Viewed another way…on any given night only 4 out of 10 people without a place to call home  will gain entrance to community shelters that  provide a heated space, safety from the streets and a basic meal.  As the numbers of our homeless citizens continue to rise due to the economic trends , emergency & transition shelters continues to fall behind needs.

 

 

Where Do People Go When They Loose Their Home: Source

                                           California

Florida

Kentucky

            Minnesota

Texas

 

Family/friends

23%

29%

38%

                    38%

16%

 

Emergency shelter

15%

25%

19%

                    29%

16%

 

Transition shelter

16%

12%

0%

                    8%

5%

 

On the streets

16%

17%

13%

17%

16%

 

Rental home

18%

13%

25%

4%

5%

 

Don’t know

3%

0%

0%

4%

37%

 

Other

9%

4%

6%

0%

5%

 

 

Source: National Coalition for the Homeless e-mail survey of 117 local and state homeless coalitions conducted Jan. 22-March 15. Note: May not equal 100% due to rounding.

 

Continue reading ‘184. Foreclosures “Bail Out” Homeless’

26
Aug
08

Homeless / Missing Veteran Search Page UPDATE 8/26/2008

John Arnold Turko added 8/26/2008

Please Check Out The Following Link For Information On This Veteran And Others…

This page was created to assist families and friends reunite with missing / homeless loved ones.

http://wanderingvets.com/homeless-missing-veteran-search-page/

15
Jul
08

165. HR 840, The Hearth Act.

 

 

Dear Friends:

Wow what times we are seeing and living in! Bank failures, foreclosures, gasoline rising to nearly $5.00 in parts of the U.S., more companies (including banks) laying off more Americans, and relief being needed in every corner.   Listening to our President, or any of the Presidential Candidates running , it will take years for the nation to turn around.

In the meantime, while all of the economic woes are hitting this country, more and more Americans are falling through the cracks. Homeless shelters are filling and the need for aid is increasing.  Congress has HR 840, The Hearth Act before them this week before the House Finance’s Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. This measure does not bail out a sector of industry, it aids human beings more directly. Continue reading ‘165. HR 840, The Hearth Act.’

30
Jun
08

Operation Stand Down Fund Raiser – Huntsville, Alabama

This is a dedicated and hardworking group in Huntsville working to assist Homeless Veterans in their area. Please help them out if you can. -W-

Operation Stand Down Huntsville will be having a benefit singing at Music Barn /Chandler Steakhouse in Hazel Green on July6th. There will be Entertainment, Food, and a 50/50 drawing. Tickets will be $5.00 at the door. Directions: go North on North Memorial Parkway to Hazel Green, turn Left on Charity Lane, Go straight until you get to Butter and Egg Road. Music Barn is on the right. Time 6pm or call (256) 714-1974 for assistance in making a donation or other directions.

http://www.operationstanddownhuntsville.com/




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Wanderingvet@wanderingvets.com AnAmerican@wanderingvets.com

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