Tag Archives: Veterans Affairs

Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans

New Report –

Vital Mission:

Ending Homelessness

Among Veterans

Homeless Veteran

Photo by  |Shrued (creative commons licensed)  Find it Here

This 36 page report released by the National Alliance to End Homelessness details the following highlights:

In 2006, approximately 195,827 veterans were homeless on a given night-an increase of 0.8 percent from 194,254 in 2005. More veterans experience homeless over the course of the year.  They  estimate that 336,627 were homeless in 2006.

Veterans make up a disproportionate share of homeless people. They represent roughly 26 percent of homeless people, but only 11 percent of the civilian population 18 years and older.  (Please see Oldtimer’s comment on these numbers below before you repeat them.) This is true despite the fact that veterans are better educated, more likely to be employed, and have a lower poverty rate than the general population.

A number of states, including Louisiana and California, had high rates of homeless veterans. In addition, the District of Columbia had a high rate of homelessness among veterans with approximately 7.5 percent of veterans experiencing homelessness.

They estimate that in 2005 approximately 44,000 to 64,000 veterans were chronically homeless (i.e., homeless for long periods or repeatedly and with a disability).

Oldtimer’s comment on the numbers:  My own studies show that  the real numbers are more like 43% of the male homeless are veterans. Here is an interesting footnote to the numbers reported above:

This estimate was calculated with 2005 veterans data from the CHALENG data set and 2005 tabulations of Continuum of Care (CoC) point-in-time counts.The CoC counts do not differentiate between adults and children, so in the number provided here-percent of homeless people who are veterans-the denominator includes some people under 18. If children were taken out of the 744,313 total, veterans would make up a larger percentage of the homeless population. This suggests that 26 percent is a conservative estimate. Either way, this estimate falls within the bounds of past research.Rosenheck (1994) reviewed research studies and found that between 29 and 49 percent of homeless men are veterans. HUD’s recent Annual Homelessness Assessment report (2007) puts the percentage of homeless veterans at 18 percent; however, 35 percent of the cases in this data source were missing, making the estimate highly unreliable.

The Rosenheck estimate  range includes the 43% that I had independently found.  The basis data for my findings are here.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has an interactive map that show veteran homelessness by state.  Click on the map to activate it, then your cursor will bring up data for each state as you hover over it.

It is interesting to note that Washington DC has the highest percentage of veterans that are homeless, more than double the rate of any other state at a whopping 7.51%.  Other high percentage states are Louisiana, California, Oregon, Nevada, Connecticut and  North Dakota in that order.   The highest number of homeless veterans are in California with more than 49,000 homeless, followed by New York, Florida and Texas in that order.

The following comes directly from the report:

Lack of affordable housing is the primary driver of homelessness. The 23.4 million U.S. veterans generally do not have trouble affording housing costs; veterans have high rates of home ownership and appear generally well housed. However, there is a subset of veterans who have severe housing cost burden.

■ We estimate that nearly half a million (467,877) veterans were severely rent burdened and were paying more than 50 percent of their income for rent.


■ More than half (55 percent) of veterans with severe housing cost burden fell below the poverty level and 43 percent were receiving foods stamps.

4■ Rhode Island, California, Nevada, and Hawaii were the states with the highest percentage of veterans with severe housing cost burden. The District of Columbia had the highest rate, with 6.4 percent of veterans paying more than 50 percent of their income toward rent.

■ Female veterans, those with a disability, and unmarried or separated veterans were more likely to experience severe housing cost burden. There are also differences by period of service, with those serving during the Korean War and WWII more likely to have severe housing cost burden.

■ We estimate that approximately 89,553 to 467,877 veterans were at risk of homelessness.  At risk is defined as being below the poverty level and paying more than 50 percent of household income on rent. It also includes households with a member who has a disability, a person living alone, and those who are not in the labor force.

However, the report body shows a laundry list of causes:

Lack of Income: Veterans who experience homelessness, like most homeless people, typically have very low incomes, and research suggests that extreme poverty predisposes veterans to homelessness. For this reason, veterans who joined the service after 1973 through the all-volunteer force are more likely to come from poverty and have lower rates of educational attainment.  (…) The unemployment rate for veterans aged 20 to 24 is 15 percent,

Physical Health and Disability: One out of 10 veterans is disabled and many suffer from physical disabilities, oftentimes caused by injuries in combat. (…)  The number of disabled veterans is increasing with more than 20,000 veterans suffering from wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mental Health and Disability: Mental health issues are also prevalent among veterans. The VA reports that 45 percent of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness, including many who report high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  (…)

Substance Abuse: According to the Department of Veterans Affairs,  approximately 70 percent of homeless veterans suffer from substance abuse problems (…)

Weak Social Networks: (…) Veterans have low marriage rates and high divorce rates and, currently, one in five veterans is living alone.  (…) Social networks are particularly important forthose who have a crisis or need temporary help. Without this assistance, they are at high risk for homelessness.

Lack of Services to Meet Current Need: The VA has over 19,000 transitional housing beds for homeless veterans (10,000 through partnerships with local community agencies) with 460 FTEE in homeless program staffing.  (Oldtimer’s comment:  19,000 beds to serve over 300,000 veterans that are homeless during at least part of the year of which 44,000 to 64,000 are chronically homeless and 195,000 are homeless on any one night!)

I hope you can sleep well tonight after reading these statistics and findings. I know that I won’t.  I also know the homeless heroes sleeping in the bushes, alleys, behind dumpsters, in doorways, and in the woods or on mountain sides are not going to sleep as well as they could if we could only get our government to respect and support our troops when they come home.

Our Heroes

are out there tonight

and it is so very cold!

Oldtimer

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PTSD vet ‘chooses’ homelessness

PTSD vet ‘chooses’ homelessness

I found this in the Air Force Times

By Brandon Stahl – The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Oct 16, 2007 11:03:14 EDT

DULUTH, Minn. – A bowl of corn flakes and room-temperature milk sits in front of Kevan Boman, 52, at a table in the Duluth Union Gospel Mission. His eyes flip down for a second, his lips purse and twist into a slight frown – just another reminder of what his life has become.

“This is breakfast,” he says as his eyes shift up to the acrid cafeteria, not wanting any of the other sad, tired faces of destitute and homeless people to get too close to him. As he eats, he reminisces about what his life once was. He was a military man for 27 years, a veteran of two wars who retired as a decorated officer. He was a nurse, a proud husband and father of three daughters, once so wealthy that he donated thousands of dollars to the very soup kitchens where he now eats.

Now, he lives in a car. It was other cars, before those were stolen or repossessed. In between were unlocked garages, tool sheds and apartment building basements, gas station bathrooms, drug houses or the couches of his daughters’ homes. Before all that, before he had to sneak into hospital and gas station bathrooms to bathe and groom himself, before the drugs and the suicide attempts, it was a three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car-garage home in a tree-lined Duluth neighborhood with his family.

That was his life three years ago, before his mind was overwhelmed by the guilt and shame from post-traumatic stress disorder, and he walked out on it all.

Since then, he has lived on the streets, but it doesn’t have to be that way. He could take his military disability checks for a tax-free $4,400 a month, get an apartment and start his life over. But he won’t. He says he would rather give his money away, to his kids, to friends, to just about anyone who asks for it. He says he would rather punish himself.

“I haven’t made peace with myself,” he says, pausing for a moment as his eyes drop again, disappointment stretching across his face. “This is my penance. I don’t let God forgive me. I don’t know why I do this. I have to.”

On any given night, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are about 200,000 homeless veterans across the country, and about 400,000 veterans experience homelessness over the course of a year. About 97 percent of them are men, and they account for 23 percent of the total homeless population. 

(Oldtimer’s Note:  Actually male veterans make up 43 percent of the male homeless but only 27% of the male population!)

There’s no easy answer to why there are so many homeless veterans, though 45 percent suffer from mental health problems and substance abuse.

“Some people develop alcohol abuse or dependence as they try to treat themselves,” said Dr. Ira Katz, VA’s national chief consultant for mental health. “Then the two conditions together can lead to difficulties with work and social relationships that could lead, in turn, to unemployment, separation or divorce, and homelessness.”

Still, he said, it seems almost like an alien concept to him to suggest someone would choose to be homeless.

“I’m not sure that homelessness is a choice,” Katz said. Instead, he suggests that a situation like Boman’s may be a complication of PTSD.

“People think they are making a choice,” said Phil Ringstrom, a counselor at the Duluth Vet Center. “If they could flip a switch to make themselves better, they’d flip the switch. They’re not choosing this. They’re enduring.”

So it’s debatable as to whether Boman chooses to live in his car.

(this is a long article and I encourage you to read the rest of this story at the link above)

Oldtimer’s comment: Kevan Boman is not alone out there.  PTSD is a common ailment for those who have been in combat, often also for women veterans who have been abused in the service.   See this article for more on PTSD – PTSD – Some Help for Veterans – information fact sheet to help recognize the symptoms, and includes other useful information.

Oldtimer

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

The New Homeless

The New Homeless

We see them from time to time on our streets… We hear about the difficulties they face in life. They are America’s homeless. But, did you know, that the man or woman traveling from shelter to shelter could in the past have been serving our country and protecting the freedoms we enjoy? How do they face the future of unknowns?

Find this story on this station
Jerry Brown
News 13 on your side
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

News 13 looks at “The New Homeless”.

Homeless Veteran“Just being a young man…seeing guys disappear…not being confirmed dead,” recalls Patrick Doyle on his days in the Vietnam War. Gulf War Vet John Powell says, “things don’t tend to go the way their planned during war. People get crazy…you end up seeing things you wouldn’t normally see.” Nilsson Riley from most recently in Iraq comments, “one of my best friends got killed…was trying to save his life. My first sergeant got killed.”

United States military veterans. from three different wars. They well know the extreme, emotional experience of serving our country in time of armed conflict. And the uncertainties. And for some, when their tour of duty is over…the return to civilian life isn’t always easy. Obstacles they face are too difficult to overcome. Before they know it, they find themselves walking the streets…without a job and, without a place to call home.

The U-S Department of Veteran’s Affairs says there are approximately 20-thousand homeless vets in the state of Florida. The V-A also says at least 1700 homeless veterans are in the Gulf Coast region from Port St. Joe west to Biloxi, Mississippi. “When I got to the airport I got spit on…called a baby killer. No parade to come back to. That was one of the roughest parts for me,” says Vietnam veteran Patrick Doyle. Homeless since 2003, Doyle says in the years after the war his life only got worse. Doyle says Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is what he deals with every single day. That is also the case for other homeless veterans facing PTSD, along with drug and alcohol addiction. Gulf War homeless vet John Powell says, “that kind of stuff brought me to my knees, losing your wife and my kids…integrity. Nilsson Riley, who served with the U-S Army in Iraq says, “I got a job and had to go on med leave… because the problems and meds from V-A required to take to cope with PTSD.”

Getting Help

But, these veterans in Panama City have found help and at the same time…hope. The Homeless Veterans Emergency Administration is Bay County’s first homeless vet’s program. It is a relatively new facility that serves not only as a temporary shelter, but also a source of helpful assistance. Deborah Hanley is the administrator. She says, “we always pray for them in church…when they are in war. When they come home, we forget about them.”

At this shelter, homeless veterans get the helping hand to put them back on track…information about jobs or medical care. But, in this trying time in life…is the government really offering the help they need? John Powell says, “when we are asked to go and fight and no questions asked if we have issues that are evaluated as having issues that need to be tended to…service related…I think the government should step up.” One place that offers help is the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic.

It is located at the Naval Support Activity Panama City. Dr. William Michels is the director of the clinic. He says, “started six years ago with 3 employees built up to 30 now…each brings something special to offer vets. I am sure the money will be increased to handle this increased demand.” Dr. Michels says one big problem is that the homeless vets and sometimes…veterans in general don’t take advantage of what is offered.

Heroes are out there too

Click for all Homeless Veterans posts

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

Click here for all homeless veteran posts 

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!