Category Archives: NCHV

VA Announces 33 cent per day Grants for Homeless Vets.

The announcement really says:

VA Announces $24 Million in Grants for Homeless Programs

But I’ve done the math. 

$24,000,000 divided by the 200,000 homeless veterans that the VA claims are homeless is a whopping $120.00 a year per homeless vet.   That’s only 32.8 cents a day per veteran!

Life Saver Candy

VA Allocation per day is 32.8 Cents

Note:  The announcement wording is indented below.

WASHINGTON – Homeless veterans in 37 states will get more assistance, thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) selection of 92 community organizations to receive funds for transitional housing this year. “Only through a dedicated partnership with community and faith-based organizations can we hope to reduce homelessness among veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. “These partnerships provide safe, comfortable housing in caring communities for veterans who need a helping hand.”

Ok, correct me if I’m wrong, but we have 50 states right?   And only 37 will get funds for transitional housing?   (Actually 35, since they counted Guam and D.C. as a states).  Hopefully that means the other 15 don’t have any homeless veterans.    92 community organizations in 37 states.   Roughly 2 or 3 communities in each state get aid?   Actually 15 states get nothing, 15 more get only one grant.  A select 20 get the bulk of the money.

Fifty-three organizations will receive $10 million to provide about 1,000 transitional housing beds under VA’s per diem program;

Lets see, that’s $10,000 per bed (average) for traditional housing.   Costs per bed range from $46,613 each in California to only $2,243 in New Jersey per bed for transitional beds.   Is there something wrong with this picture?

Thirty-six groups will receive $12 million for programs for homeless veterans who are seriously mentally, women, including women with children, frail elderly or terminally ill; (sic)

I counted 493 beds for the mentally ill veterans, 81 beds for women, 62 beds for the frail and elderly and 28 beds for the terminally ill in their list of grants.  The allocation is only $4.9 million for the mentally ill veterans. 

I do appreciate the fact that these funds will go to help the most chronically ill and  helpless of our veterans, I really do.   However,  according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) 45%  of homeless veterans experience mental illness problems.  So let’s do the math again.  45% of 200,000 vets is 95,000 veterans.   Divide that into $4.9 million. 

mint candyThat is a whopping $51.58 per year, per mentally ill veteran funding for housing and services.   Whoopee.   Our mentally ill homeless heroes are funded at the rate of 14 cents per day.  And these are funded in only 14 states.   Lets see, they fund only 1 bed per 192 mentally-ill homeless heroes.    Shameful!

Slightly over $1 million to fund 81 beds for women at an average of $13,000 per bed.  But contrast that with some of the grants:    $46, 500 per bed in Sacramento, vs. $3,222 per bed in Tampa.   Wonder what makes a homeless woman in Sacramento 15 times more costly than one in Tampa?  (The same disparity for mentally ill – Sacramento 30K per bed, only 4K in Cocoa, Fla.).   Is someone in Sacramento ripping the vets off?

Taj MahalPup tent

Sacramento homeless bed costs vs. Florida.

Three organizations will receive about $2 million for various technical assistance projects.

1) National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) $800,000.

2) North Carolina Governor’s Institute on Alcohol & Substance Abuse $992,860

 3) Staten Island  Public Resources Inc.  $996,446

Hmmm… These three organizations together are funded more for technical assistance than all the homeless women vets in the country plus all the frail and elderly vets (male and female) plus the terminally ill veterans.   No comment.

The grants are part of VA’s continuing efforts to reduce homelessness among veterans. VA has the largest integrated network of homeless assistance programs in the country. In many cities and rural areas, VA social workers and other clinicians working with community and faith-based partners conduct extensive outreach programs, clinical assessments, medical treatments, alcohol and drug abuse counseling and employment assistance.

That ain’t right folks.   The VA claims to have the largest integrated network, but I don’t believe that.   The VA says it has funded only 400 grants since 1994 in its  Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program per it’s 2006 Homeless Fact Sheet.  That does not include those in this announcement.    Piddling disbusements for our heroes most at risk.

Much work remains to be done, but the partnership effort is making significant progress. Today, it is estimated that fewer than 200,000 veterans may be homeless on an average night, which represents a 20 percent reduction during the past six years.

OK, here is something blatant folks.  They have used the 200,000 figure consistantly for years except when they changed their counting methods about 6 years ago!   There is no real reduction!   The number of Vietnam veterans declined by 23 percent per the US census over the period 2000 to 2005.    We can’t crow over a 20 percent reduction if the reduction is due to our older veterans dying out.  It appears to me that the percent of homeless veterans grew some during the same period.   It looks like a case of spin doctoring on the VA’s part.  The VA is not allocating enough funding for our homeless veterans with a paltry $24 million.   They appear to be waiting for them to die out.  They have allocated 155 grants totaling $283 million for cemetery plots. 

 Some Spending Perspective:

The VA is funding a $113 million grant to California to build a new veteran’s home at a cost of $285,000 a bed, but nationwide, only $24 million for transitional beds averaging only $120 per homeless veteran.   Habitat can build a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with central heat and air for $55,000 each.   They can build over 2000 houses for the amount spent to house just over 600 in multiple occupancy conditions or more than 1000 without volunteers.   But a good politician can get $285K a bed for his district!  Something is wildly wrong.

Our Heroes Deserve

Better Treatment

 

 

This article is only one of more than 50 homeless veteran posts.  In addition there are more than  27 posts on homeless youth .   If you are interested in either of these important topics, please click one of these links.    Please consider adding me to your feed (see link below my picture.)  Thank you for coming by,Oldtimer

Back from Iraq – and suddenly out on the streets

Soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afganistan are beginning to turn up homeless and on the streets in increasing numbers – homeless due in part to high housing costs, gaps in pay, loss of jobs, psychological problems such as PTSD.  The quotes and picture below come from a story researched and written by the Christian Science Monitor.  The story has been shortened here, so please read it in full at the link above.

Picture of Homeless Veteran  

HOME AGAIN: On returning from Iraq, Herold Noel faced the challenges of finding a home and tending to his family. He moved to New York with his wife and children, then became homeless. He now has a new apartment.   COREY SIPKIN/SPECIAL TO THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

By Alexandra Marks | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

NEW YORK – Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are now showing up in the nation’s homeless shelters.   So far, dozens of them, like Herold Noel, a married father of three, have found themselves sleeping on the streets, on friends’ couches, or in their cars within weeks of returning home. Two years ago, Black Veterans for Social Justice (BVSJ) in the borough of Brooklyn, saw only a handful of recent returnees. Now the group is aiding more than 100 Iraq veterans, 30 of whom are homeless.

“It’s horrible to put your life on the line and then come back home to nothing, that’s what I came home to: nothing. I didn’t know where to go or where to turn,” says Mr. Noel. “I thought I was alone, but I found out there are a whole lot of other soldiers in the same situation. Now I want people to know what’s really going on.”

Part of the reason for these new veterans’ struggles is that housing costs have skyrocketed at the same time real wages have remained relatively stable, often putting rental prices out of reach. And for many, there is a gap of months, sometimes years, between when military benefits end and veterans benefits begin.

“We are very much committed to helping veterans coming back from this war,” says Mr. Cameron, executive director of Vietnam Veterans of California. “But the [Department of Veterans Affairs] already has needs it can’t meet and there’s a lot of fear out there that programs are going to be cut even further.”

Beyond the yellow ribbons

Both the Veterans Administration and private veterans service organizations are already stretched, providing services for veterans of previous conflicts. For instance, while an estimated 500,000 veterans were homeless at some time during 2004, the VA had the resources to tend to only 100,000 of them.

“You can have all of the yellow ribbons on cars that say ‘Support Our Troops’ that you want, but it’s when they take off the uniform and transition back to civilian life that they need support the most,” says Linda Boone, executive director of The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

After the Vietnam conflict, it was nine to 12 years before veterans began showing up at homeless shelters in large numbers. In part, that’s because the trauma they experienced during combat took time to surface, according to one Vietnam veteran who’s now a service provider. Doctors refer to the phenomenon as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that 15 to 17 percent of Iraq vets meet “the screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD.” Of those, only 23 to 40 percent are seeking help – in part because so many others fear the stigma of having a mental disorder.

Many veterans’ service providers say they’re surprised to see so many Iraq veterans needing help so soon.

“This kind of inner city, urban guerrilla warfare that these veterans are facing probably accelerates mental-health problems,” says Yogin Ricardo Singh, director of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program at BVSJ. “And then there’s the soldier’s mentality: Asking for help is like saying, ‘I’ve failed a mission.’ It’s very hard for them to do.”

Beyond PTSD and high housing costs, many veterans also face an income void, as they search for new jobs or wait for their veterans benefits to kick in.

When Mr. Noel was discharged in December of 2003, he and his family had been living in base housing in Georgia. Since they were no longer eligible to live there, they began the search for a new home. But Noel had trouble landing a job and the family moved to New York, hoping for help from a family member. Eventually, they split up: Noel’s wife and infant child moved in with his sister-in-law, and his twins were sent to relatives in Florida. Noel slept in his car, on the streets, and on friend’s couches.

Last spring he was diagnosed with PTSD, and though he’s currently in treatment, his disability claim is still being processed. Unable to keep a job so far, he’s had no steady income, although an anonymous donor provided money for him to take an apartment last week. He expects his family to join him soon.

‘Nobody understood … the way I was’

Nicole Goodwin is another vet diagnosed with PTSD who has yet to receive disability benefits. Unable to stay with her mother, she soon found herself walking the streets of New York, with a backpack full of her belongings and her 1-year-old daughter held close.

“When I first got back I just wanted to jump into a job and forget about Iraq, but the culture shock from the military to the civilian world hit me,” she says. “I was depressed for months. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. The worst thing wasn’t the war, it was coming back, because nobody understood why I was the way I was.”

Ms. Goodwin was determined not to sleep on the streets, and so eventually went into the New York City shelter system where, after being shuffled from shelter to shelter, she was told she was ineligible for help. But media attention changed that, and she was able to obtain a rent voucher. With others’ generosity, she also found a job. She’s now attending college and working with other veterans who are determined to go to Washington with their stories.

“When soldiers get back, they should still be considered military until they can get on their feet,” she says. “It’s a month-to-month process, trying to actually function again. It’s not easy, it takes time.”

Oltimer’s comment:  These heroic men and women have been fighting for our safety and independance, our honor and our flag.  They deserve to be treated better!  Please write to your congressman and to the presidential candidates.   They need to understand what is happening now.

 Oldtimer

Support Our Troops

Our Heroes

Past, Present, and Future

 

Desert Storm Veteran on the Streets

Vets plagued by homelessness

The following story is out of Lansing, Michigan.  It is the story of a Desert Storm Veteran that hasn’t been able to hold a job in 10 years and is living on the streets, one of about 175 homeless veterans in Lansing. 

Desert Storm Veteran on the Streets
Written by Clay Taylor
Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Find and Read the rest of this story

Willie Moore Jr., a war veteran, wakes up around 5:30 every morning. After some coffee and a glance at the news, he’s ready to start the day. After attending meetings at Michigan Works! and talking to his caseworker at Volunteers of America, he begins looking for a job.

Moore hasn’t held a job for 10 years, but he’s still optimistic about finding one. He takes advantage of services offered to homeless veterans in the Lansing area.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, at least 195,000 veterans were homeless in America in 2006. Veterans are grossly overrepresented in the homeless community, according to Patrick Patterson, VoA’s vice president of operations in Lansing. “One in eight of the general population is a veteran,” Patterson said. “You’ll find vets in the homeless population around 25 percent.” Patterson said that the greater Lansing area plays host to an average 700 homeless individuals on any given day. Roughly 175 of them are veterans.


Willie Moore Jr., one Lansing’s hundreds of homeless vets,
near the Hall of Justice in Lansing, the site of the annual
Stand Down for Veterans service event sponsored last
week by Volunteers of America. (Clay Taylor/City Pulse)

The explanation for the vast amount of homeless veterans stems from three main causes, says Cheryl Beversdorf, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. She said some soldiers are hindered by mental illnesses or physical disabilities caused by war trauma or substance abuse. Finding a job is also difficult, as many soldiers joined the service in lieu of attending college and never learned how to prepare a resume and market themselves as potential employees. The third reason is a lack of cheap, safe, affordable housing.

“If you don’t have a job, and you have health problems, trying to find a place to live that is safe and affordable is very difficult,” Beversdorf said.

Moore knows the troubles faced by returning veterans all too well. A veteran of Operation Desert Storm, Moore joined the Army on April 11, 1989, his 24th birthday. His unit, 164th Chemical Company, was preparing to ship out to Saudi Arabia until its orders changed. As a result, Moore never saw combat. He said that he was more disciplined when he returned from duty, and like his high school baseball days, it gave him another chance to wear a uniform.  

There is more to this story, use the link above to find them.

Heroes are out there too

Click “front page” for the rest of Oldtimer’s posts.  You will find links in the blogroll to the right that will select all homeless veteran posts and all homeless youth posts if that is your greater interest.

Oldtimer