Homeless Veterans
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Homeless Veterans
ENG 110
July 13, 2012
I always said there is more we can do for our veterans, then leaving them on the streets. We have about 14.5% of veterans that are homeless. That equates to about 250,000 veterans living on the street at any given night. The VA and the government have come out with some help to turn those numbers around. One program is called Opening Doors; another program is the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans. Both of these programs give veterans and their families what they need. Opportunity to return to work, safe housing, healthcare, and mental health services, most of what a returning veteran needs to get reacquainted with what is going on at home. And this includes Training for a new job if need be.

Homeless Veterans
Demographically, approximately 40% of homeless men are veterans. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 131,000 Veterans are homeless on any given night. And approximated twice that amount are homeless in a given year. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nations homeless veterans are mostly males. The vast majority is single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45 percent suffer from mental illness and half have substance abuse problems. (Nation Coalition of Homeless Veterans, 2009).

Maj. Tammy Duckworth, the assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said, “We are all dishonored when a veteran sleeps on the same streets that he or she has defended.” She also said “We are all dishonored when a veterans family has to live in a shelter while he or she is out fighting for us. We need to fix this.” (The Connecticut Mirror, 2011). This well-known problem is a concern and this nation should fix it..

A typical tour of duty has been ranging from a few months to a few years for a wartime GI. This takes a typical person from a setting of governmental care and direction, to a sudden and abrupt reentering of civilian life, many times ill prepared for the transition due to money, family, lack of skill or other mental illnesses from war time service. These veterans get lost and though there are many programs to help a GIs reenter civilian life there needs to be better way of letting veterans know about these programs and getting veterans most at risk a chance to get the help they may need.

The United States has acknowledged that homeless veterans are a huge and growing problem that needs to be addressed. Since World War I and throughout history after huge military conflicts the programs that were previously used did not completely address this need. With the current infrastructure the problems still persist even though headway is being made to address veteran homelessness. After any huge military conflict, such as the Vietnam War or more currently Operation Iraqi Freedom, the problem grows more complex and the system is burdened by a large number of veterans. More than a few having current mental and physical problems due to their war time service.

Tackling the problem of homelessness veterans begins with the Federal plan to see veteran homelessness at zero by 2015. Based on prior experience the social outreach programs have shown what may work and what doesnt. One well know Program is Opening Doors a program established by the government.

“The Open Door plan aims to expand access to stable, affordable housing, improve economic stability and health among people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and move homeless services to a Crisis Response system that prevents people from becoming homeless and quickly returns people who are homeless to stable housing”. (The Connecticut Mirror, 2011)

Here are other programs to help veterans, in their time of need VAs Compensated Work Therapy, This is a unique three part program. It assists in homeless veterans return to competitive employment, Sheltered Workshop, Transitional work, and Supported employment. Homeless Veteran Supported Employment Program (HVSEP), provides assistance, job development, and ongoing support for veterans, and then there are more programs like, Safe Housing, Health Care, Mental health services. (Department of Veterans Affairs).

While services to homeless veterans have improved in the past 20 years and programs like these have made headway, advocates say more financial resources still are needed. Time is an issue veteran homelessness it is an out of sight out of mind issue. After the war stops getting reported and news stories die down. Many people stop thinking of the issues that still face these war time veterans. Now is the time when the Iraqi war is still fresh in minds to devise new ways of improving the quality of the GIs life as they transition from military to civilian. Another part of this huge problem is participation and getting the information out about these outstanding programs. The VA started targeting homelessness in 1987, 12 years after the fall of Saigon. Today the VA has, either on its own or through partnership more than 15000 residential rehabilitative, transition and permanent beds for homeless veteran nationwide. And it spends $265 million annually on homeless-specific programs and about $1.5 billion for all healthcare costs for homeless veterans. (USAToday, 2007)

These programs are often untapped because they arent common knowledge currently veterans benefits provide substance abuse help, job training and shelter. But most of these are not known benefits. And the red tape to reach and get help from these programs is substantial. Going to the VA hospital for even medical help is a daunting and thankless task designed to deter veterans from seeking benefits.

According to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio homeless veterans need assurances they will get the help they need. “There are always ways that existing programs and outreach efforts can be improved,” he said in a statement to the Dayton Daily News. “For instance, more should be done to identify high-risk veterans, help homeless veterans understand and access benefits, and strengthen job training programs for unemployed veterans.”(Dayton Daily News, 2012).

A volunteer of America runs a 55-bed transitional housing facility for homeless veterans at the Dayton Va. Thats where Joseph A. Boyd, 45, found a temporary home. “I was homeless,”: the former Marine

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Homeless Veterans And War Time Service. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/homeless-veterans-and-war-time-service-essay/