Program for homeless N.H. vets not funded
Something is wrong here.
Something is very wrong!
We seem to be backing up. The article below is just one of many like it. Federal funds in support of our homeless are drying up, and even worse, many homeless veterans that have found shelter are themselves cast out onto the streets. At least Liberty House is determined to keep up the fight for our veterans. Our government doesn’t seem to really care. To paraphrase: “We cut the funds, but it is local yokels that decide where the remainder is used.”
I’ve seen some of the inside workings of these interagency counsels. It is kind of like, “they cut our funds for band-aids. Which wound needs the dressings the most? Where are the screams coming from? Do we save that arm or let that leg go? It is a fact of life that there are no good choices when there isn’t even close to enough money to go around and people are in serious trouble everywhere you look. So they prioritize, hoping that HUD will not cut funding for the vets. When an application has 6 choices and HUD chooses to fund the first 5, they are in effect saying, “the homeless veterans on the list are not worth our money”. Even the VA shortchanges our homeless vets – they allocate only a net of $1.37 a day per homeless veteran.
Program for homeless N.H. vets could close
By PHILIP ELLIOTT, The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2007
CONCORD – A temporary home for homeless veterans in Manchester will lose its entire federal budget next year, officials said Tuesday. Liberty House received $150,000 over the past three years from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, founder Don Duhamel said. But the money wasn’t included in the proposed federal budget. “We’re fighting for our life,” Duhamel said. “We’re going to have to go out and beg and whatever and find other sources.”Liberty House was at the bottom of Manchester’s six-item, $881,000 HUD application. The agency funded the first five requests and awarded them $723,000. It also set aside $82,000 for emergency shelters. “We don’t pick and choose the projects to receive funding in any local community,” HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan said. Those are chosen by local interagency committees, he said. Liberty House didn’t make the cut. “There’s only so much money that HUD gives,” said Paul Crawford, chair of Manchester’s board that reviews potential federal homeless programs. “We’ve been waiting for six months to hear. It wasn’t until the federal budget for the last year was done that we could find out.” Mary Sliney helped coordinate the city’s applications. She said outside experts in homelessness reviewed the proposals and ranked them.Liberty House has 10 beds for homeless vets and recently started letting another two sleep on couches, Duhamel said.
“I’ll be damned if we’re going to close our door,” he said. “We’re taking them off the street and sending them back out there as taxpayers. We want to get them a job, an apartment, have them walk out of here as taxpayers and living a clean life.”
Duhamel pointed to the growing number of Iraq war vets as a reason to keep funding his program.
“They are giving us a hard time and this is when they need us the most. With this kind of war and all these brain injuries, they’re going to be hurting for the next 20 years,” he said.
Sliney agreed that veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan need attention.
“This is a critical time as we’re looking at the folks who are the new veterans from our current wars,” Sliney said. “This is something we need to pay attention to.”