Tag Archives: military

Homeless Veterans – Seldom Noted But All Around Us

A Sampling of Recent Articles

 Volunteers pamper homeless veterans

South Jersey:   Friday’s “Stand Down,” an annual outreach event, attracted nearly 120 homeless military veterans from around the region. And 250 volunteers helped provide them with assistance.  A lot of these people are hurting and they have needs,” said Thomas Weber, chairman of Stand Down of South Jersey Inc. — the organization which helped run the event. “It’s just care for your fellow human beings.”

Those who need help generally suffer from mental health issues, substance abuse and poverty. For many, the issues have become a reality of war. It’s believed that nearly 250,000 veterans are permanently homeless, Weber said.  _____________________________________________________

Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could lead to more homeless vets
 

Memphis Tenn: They’ve fought in wars to keep us free and now that they’re home some veterans don’t have a place to lay their head. The guys lined up inside the auditorium at the Veterans Hospital in downtown Memphis are among more than 3,000 veterans in Tennessee who are homeless on any given night. Most suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and some turn to drugs for help.  (…)

The problem of homeless vets isn’t expected to get any better. In fact, the hundreds of thousands serving in Iraq it’s expected that the problem will get worse.  “Here today we’re seeing those from Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom that are among the homeless that have issues. And, I think the thing I look at and those of us who try to address this issue is how in the heck we can prevent it in the first place,” said John Keys, TN Dir. of Veterans Affairs.  _____________________________________________________________

Triad Stand Down aids homeless vets

GREENSBOROMore than 200 homeless veterans were at the North Carolina National Guard Armory in Greensboro, Friday, for the third annual Triad Stand Down.  (…)

“We’ve got vets that are 23, 24-years old that are homeless,” said Archie Barrow. “They get back, they’ve got problems and they can’t conform for whatever reason. I think sometimes the family turns their back on them and society turns their back because they have issues.”   Barrow says one homeless vet is one too many.  ___________________________________________________________

Helping veterans

Indiana HVAF of Indiana has been extending a helping hand to veterans and their families who are down on their luck for nearly 15 years. (…)   The group says there are as many as 900 homeless veterans in Marion County and more than 3,600 in Indiana, based on estimates by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

________________________________________________ 

Event seeks to aid homeless veterans

Akron Ohio: The second annual Summit County Stand Down for Homeless/Displaced Veterans 2007 will be held 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Firestone VFW Post 3383, 690 W. Waterloo Road, Akron.  (…)  During the first Stand Down last year, 205 (homeless) veterans came out, ranging in age from 23 to 81,

______________________________ 

Veterans allowed to `Stand Down’ 

San Jose Calif: Former Marine Joseph Martinez smiled warmly Sunday as he shoveled gravel out of a gutter at a retreat for homeless veterans in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (…) Over the weekend, (…), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tried to do for him, and nearly 200 other homeless vets, what was not done when they first came home – coordinate medical, legal and other services for those who served.________________________________________________

Homeless military veterans recieved weekend care in NE Phila

Philidelphia  Hundreds of homeless military veterans were fed hot meals and given medical exams and cots to sleep on for the weekend “Stand Down” at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia.  (…) Some veterans brought their wives and children to the three-day event.   “We served about 10 to 15 little kids today,” said Robert Sander, an Army reservist with the 338th Medical Brigade.

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Thank God for those who care!   The sad thing is that these are 1, 2 or in some cases 3 day events held once a year.  Much better than nothing, but very localized and serving only a small fraction of those in need.   Much more is needed. 

Homelessness among veterans is a much under reported problem.  If you look around there are only a few people in this country paying attention.  When something is done, it is a piddling little in the face of the problem.  43% of all homeless males are veterans.

Please read this overview of the problem

 And if you think this is a recent phenomenon then read this history of abuse.

Our VA is not doing it’s job.

Oldtimer

 

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Personality Disorder Video by ABC’s Bob Woodward

This video is on the personality disorder topic discussed in my previous post.  It is a Bob Woodward presentation aired on July 12, 2007 on ABC World News, A Closer Look segment with Charles Gibson, and ABC Nightline shows.    I wish to thank the Iraq War Veterans Organization for their contributions to this story and ABC News and Bob Woodward for bringing it to the public.

Bob Woodward reports: 

Count the medals and see the PTSD diagnosis, then realize that our military back-charged these heroes for their re-enlistment bonus through a convienient lie.

Our Heroes Deserve better than this!

Oldtimer

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GPD – Grant and Per Diem Program for Homeless Vets

GPD Transitional Housing Program

for Homeless Veterans

The GAO did a study of the Grant and Per Diem Program in 2005 and reported it in late 2006.  The information below came chiefly from that study – a 59 page PDF file.

GPD flowchartThe Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD)–VA’s major transitional housing program for homeless veterans–spent about $67 million in fiscal year 2005. It became VA’s largest program for homeless veterans after fiscal year 2002, when VA began to increase GPD program capacity and phase out national funding for the more costly contracted residential treatment-another of VA’s transitional housing programs. To operate the GPD program at the local level, nonprofit and public agencies compete for grants. The program provides two basic types of grants-capital grants to pay for the buildings that house homeless veterans and per diem grants for the day-to-day operational expenses.

 cup of coffeecup of coffed quote

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                    

Capital grants cover up to 65 percent of housing acquisition, construction, or renovation costs and require that agencies receiving the grants cover the remaining costs through other funding sources. Generally, agencies that have received capital grants are considered for subsequent per diem grants, so that the VA investment can be realized and the buildings can provide operational beds.

Per diem grants support the operations of about 300 GPD providers nationwide. The per diem grants pay a fixed dollar amount for each day an authorized bed is occupied by an eligible veteran up to the maximum number of beds allowed by the grant. Generally under this grant, VA does not pay for empty beds.

VA makes payments after an agency has housed the veteran, on a cost reimbursement basis, and the agency may use the payments to offset operating costs, such as staff salaries and utilities.  By law, the per diem reimbursement cannot exceed a fixed rate, which was $29.31 per person per day in 2006.  Reimbursement may be lower for providers receiving funds for the same purpose from other sources.

On a limited basis, special needs grants are available to cover the additional costs of serving women, frail elderly, terminally ill, or chronically mentally ill veterans. Although the primary focus of the GPD program is housing, grants may also be used for transport or to operate daytime service centers that do not provide overnight accommodations. 

 According to VA, in fiscal year 2005, GPD grants supported about 75 vans that were used to conduct outreach and transport homeless veterans to medical and other appointments. Also, 23 service centers were operating with GPD support.

Barracks Style Bunk BedsMost GPD providers have 50 or fewer beds available for homeless veterans, with the majority of providers having 25 or fewer.  Accommodations vary and may range from rooms in multistory buildings in the inner city to rooms in detached homes in suburban residential neighborhoods. Veterans may sleep in barracks-style bunk beds in a room shared by several other participants or may have their own rooms.

In fiscal year 2005, VA had the capacity to house about 8,000 veterans on any given night. However, over the course of the year, because some veterans completed the program in a matter of months and others left before completion, VA was able to admit about 16,600 veterans into the program. 

Homeless vets per yearOldtimer’s Comments:  The GAO found that the VA’s GPD program was the VA’s largest homeless program beginning in 2005, spending $67 million on 194,000 veterans, a whopping 94 cents a day per homeless veteran – you can’t buy a vet a cup of coffee for that.   It assigned a van to outreach more than 2500 homeless vets per van.   It provided support to 23 service centers with an average of 25  or fewer beds, something like 600 beds total while in actuality much of the money went to vans and administrative costs, so the figure per vet is quite low. 

The curious thing about the chart above, provided by the GAO, is the sudden disconnect between 2003 and 2004.   A sudden loss of 121,000 homeless vets in one year!  The VA says it “improved its counting methods,” now relying on the Continuum of Care program under HUD.   The CoC program is a count of all homeless.  Unfortunately, there is no consistent query relating to veterans in their survey.   There is no consistant directive requiring VA centers to use a particular counting method.  The GAO says that, “in 2005, more than twice as many local VA officials used HUD counts as was the case in 2003.”  That indicates some do and some don’t.   No one knows within tens of thousands how many homeless veterans there are.

Considering The VA has capacity to house 8000 veterans on any given night in 2005, the other 186,000 homeless veterans on those same nights had to fend for themselves.  Considering that 8000 beds times $29.31 per night means the VA should have spent $85 million on the bedded veterans over a year’s time, but could not as they only had $67 million to spend, much of which went to the vans and overhead.  Obviously there were considerable empty beds during the year due to underfunding or inefficient turnover in available beds.

More on this report later.

Oldtimer

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Stand Down – Faith Hope Love Charity

I received an invitation from Stand Down FHLC, Inc. that I would like to pass on to you.

their logoStand Down FHLC, Inc operates out of Palm Springs, Florida.   It was founded in 1994 and opened its doors in 2000.  

Stand Down FHLC  is a multi tiered program that assists & supports male veterans who are struggling with addiction & have become homeless as a result of that struggle.   More than 800 veterans have received support from their program.

It operates a 15 bed facility dedicated to homeless veterans and provides 30 – 60 days of residence, food, treatment by staff psychologists, and transportation to the nearest VAMC for substance abuse, medical, and dental treatment.
waving flag gif

  Here is their invitation:

Hold the Date:  

Saturday November 10, 2007

Faith*Hope*Love*Charity, Inc.

presents its first Preeminent

“Take Flight Award Banquet”

 Honoring our Military (Past & Present) 

Crown Plaza – West Palm Beach

1601 Belvedere Road

West Palm Beach, FL 33406  

Meet and Greet Distinguished & Celebrity Guests

 Incredible Silent Auction

Exquisite cuisine

Fantastic Entertainment

Contact Dr. Crockett Or Ms. Rainford

For Additional Information

(561) 968-1612 ext. 13/10  or at Ccrockett@standown.org. 

This is how you minister to Heroes

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Program for homeless N.H. vets could close

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.  

Find the rest of this story here

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.”

Oldtimer’s comment:

Wave more than just flags ’cause…

 Heros are out there too.

For all homeless Veteran Posts

Homeless Veterans Want to Be Remembered on Memorial Day

Homeless Veterans Want to Be Remembered on Memorial Day

By: AMVETS
Published: May 22, 2007 at 06:48
 

Memorial Day was established as a day of remembrance in honor of Americans who have lost their lives while serving their country.  But Joe Lansford of Alexandria believes that Americans should also use the occasion to remember living veterans in Indiana and across the country who struggle with homelessness because of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ failure to provide them with timely healthcare and disability payments when they completed their military service. 

Lansford, a 52-year-old Vietnam Navy veteran who helped evacuate Americans and Vietnamese during the fall of Saigon, was homeless several times after he left the service in 1980 and lived a wretched existence in everything from makeshift tents to abandoned buildings as he struggled with alcoholism and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). “When I left the service, they didn’t give me any kind of medical evaluation,” he said. “They just handed me my discharge papers and my final check.  It took the VA more than 20 years to figure out I had PTSD.”  And even after doctors diagnosed Lansford with PTSD six years ago, 21 years after he completed his military service, it took the VA another two years to approve his disability pension.“The VA rejected my application for disability the first time, even though several doctors said I had PTSD,” Lansford said.   “These delays are one reason why so many veterans end up homeless.”Indeed, according to VA’s own statistics, more than 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.(…)
“Members of Congress should do veterans a favor this Memorial Day and study the recommendations for reform that were provided to them by AMVETS last year,” said Tom McGriff, AMVETS’ national commander. “I would also encourage members of the public to write their congressmen and encourage them to read the report and to take action on the recommendations that were made to them.”

A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s Armed Forces, AMVETS is the only veterans service organization that represents members of every branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserve. AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements as well as community services that enhance veterans’ quality of life. More information on AMVETS can be found at http://www.amvets.org/

Oldtimer’s Comment:  I applaud the AMVETS for all they do! 

Homeless Veterans – Facts By the Numbers

Published Statistics Vary Greatly 

I’ve seen a lot of statistics that vary from source to source all over the place.  Most of them not referencing their source, many of them not being specific on the definitions or the exact group being cited.  I’m going to attempt to put down some numbers that come from trusted sites and clarify the statistics as best I can.    Links are to sources.  We will try to make sense of these numbers in a later post – stay tuned.

The total population of the United States: 

As of May 19, 2007: 301,875,007.  Source US Census Population Clock.  If the number above doesn’t agree it is because we have a net gain of one person every 11 seconds.  

By Census Bureau sex and age, 49% are male, 51% female, 74.6% (225,200) are 18 or older, 48% (114,900,000) male over 18, 52% female over 18.   The total male population over 25 is 92,800,000 men.

The total population of veterans:

 (Includes Peacetime Veterans): 26,403,000, of which 24,810,000 are men and 1,593,000 are women as of census 2000. 

The total population of wartime veterans:  

(Wartime Only):  19,157,000 of which  18,073,000 are men and 1,084,000 are women as of 2004.   

Veterans under age 25:   0.8% (153,000) are men and 0.3% (58,000) are women.

Total estimated spending for veterans:

 (Dollars in 2004):  $62.0 Billion for 2004 ($234 per veteran).

Where veterans Served:

By Service 2002 :  WWII 4,762,000;   Korean 3,733,000; Vietnam 8,293,000; Persian Gulf War 3,573,000;  Peacetime 6,461,000.  

Homeless veterans:

There are 200,000 homeless veterans on any one day, up to 400,000 during any year; 97% of the homeless veterans (194,000) are male, and 3% (6,000) female on any one day.  These are the VA’s best estimates.  No one is really counting.  56% (112,000) are African American or Hispanic.  

Of these 45% (86,000) suffer from mental illness and (with considerable overlap) 73% (146,000) suffer from alcohol and substance abuse. 

Total US homeless population:  

2005 Estimate:  Approximately 744,313 people homeless on a single night.  This includes 56% in shelters, 44% unsheltered; 59% single adults, 41% in families (98,452 families counted); 23% chronically homeless (171,200 disabled and long term or repeatedly homeless ).   The 172,000 chronically homeless use up 50% of the services. 

Of the total homeless population, 66 % (491,000) are males;   93% (456,700) of homeless males are 25 or older;  41% (201,000) of the males are employed as compared to 27% (68,300) of females.

Calculated Results: 

43% of homeless males 25 and older are veterans.   How do I arrive at that value?   The number of homeless males 25 and over is 456,700 and the number of homeless male veterans is 194,000.   I beleive this is as valid as the counts that make up the data.   There are less than 1% veterans under 25 and about 0.3% homeless women veterans.      

27% of all males over 25 are veterans but 43% of all homeless males are veterans.   There is a disconnect here, the percentages should be about the same.   This 27% calculation uses 24,910,000 male veterans 25 and over and 92,823,000 US males 25 and over.    

Stay tuned – work in progress – this post will be updated and a new post will massage and chart these numbers

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