Category Archives: Veteran’s Day

Tables Turned – Homeless hater now Homeless

I find this story very interesting.  A woman with a beach-front duplex near the Ulehawa Beach park in Hawaii  was fed up with the homeless encampment across the road from her.   Marianne Beaman  had lived there for 9 years. 

“I was mad about it, believe me,” she said. “All this noise … and all the drugs and alcohol at either end of the park.”

Today, she resides in that encampment, in a tent less than 50 yards from the duplex she and her husband, Bert, rented for nine years.

“I lived right there in that very house,” she said, pointing to the beachfront property. “We made the hop from right there to right here. We’ve seen it from both sides.”

Now the city is closing the park for a week beginning February 10, 2008, so that it can evict the homeless permanently from the park.    Now Marianne is concerned about losing yet another place to live.  Yet another systematic homeless eviction process by another city with no place to send the displaced.   The Beamans had never been homeless before their landlord decided to convert their duplex unit into a vacation rental a while back. Six months ago, the couple and their two dogs began an anxious and reluctant occupation of Nani Kai Beach.

“At first we said, ‘We’re not going to move to the beach, we’re going to find a place to live,’ ” Marianne Beaman said. “My husband works. I’m on Social Security. But, we could not find a place we could afford. We don’t have any relatives here we can live with. So, finally we used our savings to build a shelter that would protect us from the weather.

“Now, we don’t have any idea where we’re supposed to go.”

Hopefully this will never happen to any of our Marietta city leaders nor to any of our readers.  But it does happen to tens of thousands of people nearly every month that never had a clue that it could happen to them.   It has happened to perhaps thousands of people in our small city, considering that the homed/homeless situation has considerable turnover in their makeup.  For every homeless person, there are likely 8 to 10 that have gone before them.  

The program director of MUST Ministries has said he thinks there are as many as 1000 homeless men and women unsheltered in Cobb County Georgia at this very moment. 

The last homeless count I’m aware of found only 330 unsheltered in January 2006.  The truth may lie somewhere between as it a simple fact that there is no way a small group of housed volunteers can find a homeless man in the woods if he is not interested in being found.  And none of them are.   We know of about 150 that are fed breakfast on Sunday mornings in one small area of Marietta.   This is an area that is sparsely populated by the homeless because the camping areas are almost non existent compared to south of the city and in the county.

MUST and their free lunch program is a draw to be sure, but the fact is, only a very few of the city’s homeless live near there for lack of cover.  It is an industrial and business area with crisscrossing roads and very few areas with trees and shrubs to hide campsites. 

Someone once said  that we all, each and every one of us are at most only two tragedies from homelessness.   It could be a family illness coupled with a job loss or any number of similar situations, including fire, earthquake, storm, abandonment, death of loved one, mental illness, service in war, or simply a landlord deciding to use his property in a different manner as the Beamans found out.   Also we all know that foreclosure is forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes.   Couple that with another unfortunate event and many of these will be homeless.  Unexpectedly and unwillingly homeless through no fault of their own.  

Combinations of these unexpected events can push almost anyone into homelessness at any time.   Not drugs, not alcohol, not laziness, not gambling, not any of those things.  Think about it.  Many of the homeless in the woods near your neighborhood are just plain people like yourself that have hit a couple of speed bumps in their life too many. 

Repeat after me:  “There but for the Grace of God, go I”.  Say it 3 times.

But then, what does Marietta Care?   If you have read any of the 6 or 7 previous posts, the answer is that the City That Doesn’t Care cares nothing about the homeless!  They have sent the Storm Troupers to roust them out and dump their life support systems into the garbage trucks. 

In the dead of winter.  On the eave of the two coldest nights of the year.  Even with snow on the ground.  Without their blankets, without their tents, without their backpacks, even some without their shoes.   Yes, even the mentally ill who have no idea what is happening have been run over.    Jack-Legged Storm Troupers?  Maybe not quite that bad, but the homeless say it was not too far from it.  Heartless, certain.   Some of our police did not like the action taken, but each and every one knows they must do their duty.   When the Mayor says go, when the Council says clean them out… no choice.  None indeed.  Even our veterans, our homeless heroes.  Out.  Out. Out!  You left some trash.  You made somebody’s employee nervous when she saw you standing under a bridge the other day.  Out!  

This is the same shamefull city counsil that refused the VFW the right to give out flags alongside their float on Veteran’s day while the Mayor rode up front in grand style!  Now our homeless veteran friends clearly understand how Marietta supports our troups.  Particularly those in need.  Al, Perry OUT!  Take your flags with you!

So says Marietta, The City That Doesn’t Care!

Oldtimer

Neighbors Vs Good Neighbors

Neighbors Vs Good Neighbors

I’ve always been taught to love my neighbors.   I do – I have no trouble loving anyone I meet whether through our church, within a business, on the street, or even on the net.  

I have to confess that I love some gooder than others (gooder is a good southern word, thank you).  Some are just fine people and they always exhibit good vibes whenever you speak to them.  Good Neighbors are also the first to pony up to help someone out.  Oh, they complain about this or that, but it is good naturedly and accompanied by a winning smile of acceptance.   

This is Veterans Day and I was prompted to think about the Good Neighbors that are in service to our country and particularly those that have already served – our veterans.  

What better neighbor can you have than one that served to keep us free?  What better neighbor can we have that unselfishly put themselves in harms way, under threat of being maimed and possibly death?   These are among the goodest neighbors we can hope to have.

I was impressed today at the little cafeteria where we ate after church, when so many men came in decorated with pins, flags, and name tags that their churches and synagogues had pinned on them so we would know that a good neighbor, a hero, was in our presence.   I managed to shake a few hands and express thanks.  Not enough for what they did for us.  Not nearly enough.

We have some Good Neighbors right here on the net.   Wanderingvet for example.  A homeless veteran that is about as fine a person as you can find even in his present situation.  A working veteran with not enough income or steady jobs to have a roof.   Go read some of his stories as he lives a life on the streets and sleeps on the hillsides.  It is a struggle but he hands out useful advice to other homeless on how to cope, useful advice to other veterans on how to get help.   Maybe one or two can help him.

Another Good Neighbor is VA234 who is a disabled veteran in Ohio that started his blog while he was still homeless.  If you go back far enough and read forward you will get the real story of what it is like to struggle with life from the street side, negotiating toward a real place to live.

Another Good Neighbor is Patriot Guard of North Dakota These fine people show up at military funeral services when some of our not-so-good neighbors threaten protests.  You’ve heard of groups that come out and carry signs demonizing the soldier hero being brought home to rest and doing so at the expense of the grieving family and friends.  The Patriot Guards show up on motorcyles and reverently stand guard to make sure the services are not disturbed.   The North Dakota Patriot Guard is particulary close to my heart because they went to the rescue of a veteran that was about to be put out on the street and his home torn down.   They did far more than that.  You can find it in earlier posts.

Al and Perry, homeless veterans here in Marietta are Good Neighbors.  I’m sorry that I can’t give you a link to them because they still live in the woods.   Pat of Georgia Home Staging, her husband Scott, and several others in our church are especially Good Neighbors for coming to the aid of Al and Perry (and other homeless), taking food and clothing, bringing Al and Perry into our church, breaking bread with them over lunch each Sunday.    They are encouraging Al and Perry to get help through the VA by providing information and assistance to get it done.

The Golden Corral seems to be a Good Neighbor.  They don’t need a link, just go find one if you are a veteran, or have a meal there anyway because they are such Good Neighbors.  (They also helped us out with Habitat meals).  Monday, November 12 is this years “Military Appreciation Day” in which they will give any and all veterans that show up a free meal.   I learned that at another Good Neighbor, Homeless Family BlogI’m not sure he is a veteran, but he has a veteran’s heart and writes a good blog.   I know he was homeless at one time and allowed me to quote him several times.  

There are countless others that I don’t have links for that fall into the Good Neighbor category.  

The title of this article is “Neighbors vs Good Neighbors” so now I’m going to go over to the bad side, the simply neighbor side, to live up to the billing of Oldtimer Speaks Out.  I know I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself, but I’m having a really hard time doing that with an internet neighbor.  This neighbor is one of the bad ones.  He wrote me today in response to a comment about medical care for our heroes and it nearly ruined my whole day: 

“They’re treating heroes – but why??? I’m (sic) don’t understand.”  

At first I thought it had to be a typo, (as in meaning to say “mistreating heroes”) but then I looked up the guy’s website and found it was a site that is anti-war, anti troops, a hate site.   Now it is not a stretch to see that some would be against the war, as I’m not thrilled about that myself.   But this group and this person is also against our troops.   Against our troops so much they want them to go untreated, to suffer, to even die.   It is this type of bad neighbor that would carry a sign and shout and disrupt a solumn funeral for a war hero while the family grieves nearby.  Thus the reason for such Good Neighbors as the Patriot Guard.

Yes, I do have compassion for this person for his bitterness.  But I’m not allowing him to post on this website.  It is the only one I’ve turned down so far.  He may be a neighbor, but God and I may have a conversation tonight about whether I should love him.   Anyway, I’ve hope that He would agree that I don’t have to let this neighbor over the threshold and enjoy the comforts of my home.  

To the bad neighbor that doesn’t know “why???”, I’ll answer your question anyway.  Because they more than deserve it.  They served their country to protect the hide of someone like yourself, for me, for all the other Good Neighbors that have already served, for your families and mine, to protect and serve – that is why.   Never mind how this war started, never mind whether you think it is unjustified … these patriotic young men and women stepped up to the plate when the plate was empty, stayed at the plate as the strikes went by and stand there now to hit the winning home run.   Ever ready to protect the bitter worthless souls such as yourself  that would deny them the comfort and aid of treatment.   

Another bad neighbor is the retailer’s gross use of Veteran’s Day to post advertizements such as I’ve seen so many of today.  “Come celebrate Veteran’s Day at our car lot”. “At our white sale”, “at our drugstore”.  No other mention of Veterans except as an excuse to shop them.  No flags, no parades, no contributions to veteran’s benefit.  Simply a gross excuse to ride on the back of a day meant to honor our heroes.   

To my Good Neighbors and Good Friends all over this web that are Veterans and Soldiers,  I hope this Veterans Day is a particularly good one for you!  And to the bad neighbors, I propose Grace and Peace to you as well and hope you soon see the light.

 Oldtimer

 

 

 

  

 

VA Stats at a Glance

VA Stats at a Glance

(As of 10-25-07)

VA Stats at a GlanceThe VA publishes what they call  “Stats at a Glance

They don’t say how often it is updated but it likely is monthly.  At least the one I found was updated on 10-25-2007,  just a few days ago.

If so, you can find and track current information on the statistics and demogrphics related to VA Benefits and Health Care Utilization in one easy to read, as they say, at a glance.

I wanted to post the entire paper and not just a thumbnail, but it is posted as a picture and the resolution was not sufficient for easy reading.

Most of the statistics are listed as of 9/30/07.   A few are as of FY 06 and FY 07.  I’m going to list a few of them here.  Click on the link above or on the thumbnail to see the latest data.

Veterans receiving VA Disability Compensation                2.8 million

Veterans rated 100% Disabled                                             249,904

Veterans receiving VA Pensions                                           303,242

 Spouses receiving VA DIC                                                     317,374 

Enrollees in VA Health Care                                                  7.9 million

Unique Patients                                                                       5.5 million

Veterans compensated for PTSD                                         299,672

Health Care Professionals rotating through VA (FYo6)   100,893

Total  number of Veterans                                                  23,532,000

Total Females  (7%)                                                                1,745,000

Number of WWII Veterans that die each day                           1,000

Number of veterans 65 or older (39%)                               9,177,000

By race:  White (non Hispanic)  80%   Hispanic 6%  Black (non Hispanic) 11% Other 4%

Number of VA Employees                                                        254,183

VA Funding   $ 80.2 Billion (not including VHA, VBA, NCA)

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Naturally I want to add a few stats of my own:  

Number of Heroes sleeping on the street every night:  195,000

(also check for similar data here

Number of Heroes homeless during the year (VA estimate)  400,000 

Percentage of all homeless males over 25 that are veterans 43%   (27% of all US males are veterans but 43% of the homeless males over 25 are veterans)

Amount allocated by VA to homeless veterans: $1.37 per day   (cup of coffee anyone?)

Grant money allocated by VA for homeless veterans  33 cents per day (Mints anyone?)

Overview of the homeless veteran problem 

Homeless Veterans are Heroes too!

Oldtimer

 

Veteran’s Day – November 11, 2007

Veterans Day  

  November 11, 2007 

Veteran's Day Poster

Remember and Honor our Heroes!

For they are Heroes Forever

 

 

 

Click Here for More Information on Veterans

Want your own posters for Veterans Day?  Download and print them free.