Tag Archives: VFW

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

Marietta Georgia – No compassion for homeless – NONE

The City of Marietta is evicting homeless from within our city limits.  Al, our homeless veteran friend that our church is trying its best to help reports that he and his friends, which are mostly homeless veterans, have been given notice to move “south”, meaning out of Marietta and toward Atlanta.

We have been helping Al and some of his friends in numerous ways.  Pat (see an earlier story on Pat here and her husband Scott and a few others in our church have been serving breakfast Sunday Mornings and later bringing some to our church for bible study and services, often treating them to lunch afterward.  Scott put Al in a hotel during the cold snap and the group has been taking supplies and clothing to them. 

Al has been faithful in attending, and as a result has taken to the idea that he can get out of this.  He no longer looks homeless, is neat, trimmed and dressed in his best clothes.  However, despite the information, forms, trips to the VA, Al still has not received his papers or his VA card.  He is still homeless.  He has said he has now committed to getting off the streets but has no place to go.

Above is one of the homeless camps being evicted by the City of Marietta.  This is an old photo taken from the air, but it also the site of Als current camp.   Believe it or not, this was found by use of the Hit and Visitor Map to the right of this blog.  It has zoom and several modes, including hybrid (satellite and road labeling), airborne, and “bird’s eye”.  I used the hybrid mode in zoom to find the general area, then switched to bird’s eye and quickly found his camp and 2 other camps.   Try it in your area (bird’s eye is not available in all areas, mostly metropolitan areas around large cities like Atlanta).  Look for blue tarps in mostly wooded areas.  Let me know if you find any. 

Now comes the City of Marietta.  They have systematically attacked the homeless camps within their city and have now worked their way to Als camp.  They did give them a little prior notice.  They were told that they are trespassing (wooded right of way of city) have to be packed up and moved out by Monday.  

Guess What?  Its snowing in Georgia.  The ground is covered.  A few will accept winter shelter but the beds are full.   They are totally dependent on MUST ministries a few blocks from their camp for food which MUST serves once a day on weekdays.   Nothing on weekends.

Moving means a miles long treck instead of a block or so walk.   The plan is obvious, make the homeless either seek shelter or get out.  Unfortunatly there are not enough beds to go around.  Not nearly enough.  So the plan is equally obvious – get out of our city

The city should provide facilities for these homeless before making them move.  They don’t.  They depend on MUST Ministries and a few other shelters that they have forced into industrial zones and have for the most part squelched expansion of facilities.  

Our city has decided to take the cheaper route – run them out of our city before they cost us money!  It also has another up side for the city:  Next year the homeless count will show another “remarkable” drop and no one will have to cook the books by redefining the homeless or unfinding any.  

Al works when he can find a job.  He doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs, has no noticeable mental problems.  He is a true walking hero with no place to go and our VA is not doing its duty.  Nor the VFW, nor our heartless City of Marietta.   He has fallen through the cracks and it makes me want to cry.

MUST Ministries, a block away from Al, serves Al a noon meal every week day. and  recently announced receiving grant money to set up transitional housing for veterans.   I’m sure they are hearing of the problem, but its been most of a week now since I left a message there for the program manager and sent a email inquiring about the program.  No response to the email and no returned call, and I know the guy, so he must be “out of pocket”.    MUST does do a wonderful job of helping feed and house the homeless and works tirelessly to serve them. 

Another mission, New Hope Missions reports that they are being swamped with homeless in the same desperate condition as Al.  New Hope serves about 125 breakfast and conducts services on Sunday and about half come from the area being evicted.  Some of them have to be out Wednesday.  Al has to be out Monday.

This is how not to minister to the homeless 

City of Marietta GA:  Shame!

Oldtimer

“Houseless and Homeless Not Same Thing”

Houseless and Homeless Same?  Not exactly. 

Many think so, but they are different and overlap.   Many think that if you have a roof over your head – housed that is (shelter, rooming house, somebody’s couch) then you are not homeless.   They think you are homeless only if you live outside, on the streets.  They are wrong. 

If you don’t get the difference, think about it until you do.  Read the words of the homeless veteran below and see if anything clicks.   The old saying, “home  is where the heart is” is quite valid and true.  Just because a homeless person is in shelter or sleeping on a friend’s couch, or living in a cheap motel, doesn’t mean he or she is not still homeless. 

They may be housed and homeless at the same time.  This is a big issue and a terribly sore spot with the homeless.  To them there is a world of difference; almost fighting words!   There are homeless veterans and houseless veterans, two different levels of homeless, but don’t say that someone housed cannot be homeless.  The houseless veteran is one that sleeps in a doorway or back alley or along some creek bank somewhere.   The homeless veteran covers that and also the housed that cannot make a home out of their accomidations.

Definition

From Wikipedia:  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines the term “homeless” or “homeless individual or homeless person” as — (1) an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and (2) an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is: A) supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); B) an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or C) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodations for human beings.

Definition 1) covers the unhoused homeless and 2) covers the housed homeless.  There are others, including those living in cars, campers, paid motel rooms/flop houses, rooming houses, bus terminals, transit cars, and couch surfing that kind of blur whether they are covered at all or included in C). 

Most homeless census counts do not count the homeless that are able to score time in a motel or hotel as homeless, although usually they get that brief stay for only a few days or a week.  Most homeless census counts also do not count homeless in transit (those at bus or train stations or actually in transit), even though some live in the metro transit systems for years.   The result is an undercount. 

 Comment from a Homeless Vet in Ohio on homeless and houseless:

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: homeless
One entry found for homeless.
Function: adjective
: having no home or permanent place of residence
– home·less·ness noun

 “Today, my mother and I had the “homeless” conversation for the first time ever. It was terribly brief. I had mentioned having spent the last year as a homeless veteran. She said that I have never been homeless — I was staying with [my last host] until I moved into her house.  I told her that being homeless and being houseless are not the same thing.  She said she didn’t have time to discuss it and walked away.

“Yes, there was a roof over my head and there is still a roof over my head at her house; however, it was crystal clear from the moment I was told that I could move in — both places — that I was allowed to stay for a while, transient, short term, not permanent or anything close to it. I was permitted a temporary stay in someone else’s home, permitted to “make myself at home”, but never permitted to make the home my home.

“It was clear from day one — this is temporary, it had better not last very long, or a day will arrive when my belongings are moved out for me.  My last host placed them safely covered and well hidden (from the road) on his front porch. “

(Oldtimer’s note, he was recently moved out – van loaded up and transported elsewhere by his parents – wore out his welcome – their home was not his home and he was homeless even there – housed homeless in his parent’s home.)

Maybe some people really do have to be homeless for a while to understand that houseless and homeless are not the same thing. “Houseless” and “homeless” frequently overlap, but they are not interchangeable synonyms, not at all.  No, my mother really has zero clue what spending a year without a place where I was welcome to stay permanently has done to my psyche.  “Coming back” from this might be a little easier if my family had the slightest clue where I “went”.  Yeah, I think it is going to take me a while.”

Elsewhere in his blog he says this: “Housed-homeless”, it seems like such a strange concept, but there’s probably more of us “couch surfing” veterans than anyone is counting as “officially” homeless .

He has an interesting blog.  Go visit.

Click here for All Homeless Veteran Articles

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

Click for All Homeless Veterans Articles

Veterans Protest Over ‘Lack Of Care’ Outside Of LA’s VA

West LA VA Medical CenterThe group Citizens For Veterans’ Rights estimates there are between 15,000 and 24,000 homeless veterans living in Los Angeles County. 

Veteran:  “We ask the people behind those gates, ‘open those gates.’ Give that service and give a home to the homeless veteran.”   (Picture from VA Web site)

Find the rest of this story here
March 16, 2007
LOS ANGELES — Veterans marched outside the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center on Friday in protest of what they said is a lack of care being provided to aging veterans and soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Between 70 and 75 veterans and supporters marched “to draw attention to policies at the West Los Angeles VA that have led to the deaths of veterans,” said organizer Keith Jeffreys.(…)   During the protest at San Vicente and Wilshire Boulevards, veteran Jay Handle said more medical and social services need to be provided to the men and women returning from war.  “We have a major problem here that hasn’t been recognized nationally, and the major problem is those gates are locked to the people who are standing out here every day,” Handle said.  “We ask the people behind those gates, ‘open those gates.’ Give that service and give a home to the homeless veteran.”The group Citizens For Veterans’ Rights estimates there are between 15,000 and 24,000 homeless veterans living in Los Angeles County, Jeffreys said.   In the 2005 Homeless Count, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority estimated Los Angeles County has more than 15,000 homeless vets.“It’s an enormous burden for Los Angeles County to bear so we look at it not only as a local issue but we need changes made VA-wide, starting with Washington,” Jeffreys said.“We have to roll up our sleeves here and quit talking about making changes and really make changes.”Comment:  This particular hospital recently made the news for removing the wrong testicle from a veteran during cancer surgery.
HEROES need our help more than ever!
Oldtimers Comment:  Click here for all Homeless Veterans Articles

From Serving in Iraq To Living on the Streets

Homeless Vet Numbers Expected to Grow
Oldtimer’s Comment:  The following are excerpts from a lengthy and important story in The Washington Post.  These tidbits only serve to summarize some of the important points of the story.  I encourage you to read the rest at the link below.

Please visit this site and read the rest of the story
By Christian Davenport
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 5, 2007 

Aaron ChesleyAaron Chesley, 26, is part of a new crop of veterans
who served in Iraq or Afghanistan who are struggling with homelessness. (Photo by Carol Guzy — The Washington Post)“In a homeless shelter filled with Vietnam War veterans, Chesley, 26, a former Catonsville High School honors student who joined the West Virginia Army National Guard in 2000 to help pay for college, was the only one in the facility who fought in the country’s latest conflict. But across the nation, veterans of recent combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are slowly starting to trickle into shelters, officials say.(…)  As in the Vietnam War era, when thousands of vets ended up homeless, there are already signs that the recent conflicts are taking a traumatic psychological toll on some service members. Many veterans’ advocates said that despite unprecedented attempts by the military and Veterans Affairs to care for veterans, increasing numbers of the new generation of warriors are ending up homeless.“This is something we need to be concerned about,” said Cheryl Beversdorf, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, a Washington-based nonprofit.(…)  Army studies have found that up to 30 percent of soldiers coming home from Iraq have suffered from depression, anxiety or PTSD. A recent study found that those who have served multiple tours are 50 percent more likely to suffer from acute combat stress.Veterans’ homeless shelters across the country, such as the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training in Baltimore, are bracing for increased demand. “The wave has not hit yet, but it will,” said retired Army Col. Charles Williams, MCVET’s executive director.(…) “Usually it takes a period of time before it surfaces — the PTSD,” (Woody Curry) said. “And the military mentality leads you to try to tough it out and not say anything.”(…) Meanwhile, a report by the Democratic staff of the House Veterans Affairs Committee found that from October 2005 to June 2006, the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking services from walk-in veterans centers doubled, from 4,467 to 9,103.“It’s clear from the report that Vet Center capacity has not kept pace with demand for services, and the administration has failed to properly plan and prepare for the mental health needs of returning veterans and their families,” U.S. Rep. Michael H. Michaud (D-Maine), a member of the committee, said in a statement.

(…)

Oldtimer

Injured Troops Struggle to Get Health Care

Injured Troops Struggle to Get Health Care

Well, this isn’t a homeless veteran’s story, but it could be for the reasons illustrated here, so I’m adding it to that series anyway.  The problems illustrated in this report on the National Public Radio (NPR) caught my eye.  Our injured troops, our returning heroes, are not being treated right and many of them end up homeless just because of what seems to be an arbitrary system of handing out disability rankings.   

I know the people that work and serve to doctor and care for our toops care about the injured.   But there is a bureaucratic snafu when people are severly injured and sometime mentally disabled  but denied their claims unfairly and then the VA has such a backlog they can’t handle the flood of troops coming to them.  Our Heroes are just not being treated right!

Comment: The following story was broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) there is a link at the bottom for the audio and for the rest of the story.  Everything below except for my comment was written by by Joseph Shapiro.

Photo by Eamon Coyne

Tim Ngo (center) suffered a serious head injury while serving in Iraq.
The military recognizes him as only “10 percent” disabled, which makes
him ineligible for continued military health care.
Above, Ngo stands with his girlfriend, Ani Cerghizan (left),
and his mother, Hong Wyberg.

    “I don’t fully think they were prepared for the length of time this war is going to last. They had no idea of how many injuries or the type of injuries that were going to come out of this.” Hong Wyberg, Mother of Tim Ngo, who sustained a serious head injury in Iraq.
    “It’s counterintuitive. Why are the number of disability retirees shrinking during wartime?” Mark Parker, Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel

When service members are forced to leave the military by war injuries or illness, they face a complex system for getting health and disability benefits. Sometimes, health care gets cut off when new veterans find they need it most. Some retired soldiers and their families say they are worried that the Pentagon won’t spend enough money to give the injured the care they deserve.

’10 Percent Disabled’

Tim Ngo almost died in a grenade attack in Iraq. He sustained a serious head injury; surgeons had to cut out part of his skull. At Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., he learned to walk and talk again. When he got back home to Minnesota, he wore a white plastic helmet to protect the thinned-out patches of his skull. People on the street snickered, so Ngo’s mother took a black marker and wrote on the helmet: U.S. ARMY, BACK FROM IRAQ. On this much, everyone agrees.

But here is the part that is in dispute: The Army says Tim Ngo is only 10 percent disabled. “I was hoping I would get at least 50 or 60 or 70 percent,” Ngo says. “But they said, ‘Yeah, you’re only going to get 10 percent’… And I was pretty outraged.”

When a service member is retired for medical reasons, the military’s disability rating makes a difference. If Ngo had been rated 30 percent disabled or higher, he would have gotten a monthly disability check instead of a small severance check. He also would have stayed in the military’s health-care system. Instead, Ngo enrolled with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Typically, there’s a waiting period for the VA.

Comment: This sounds like a cop-out for the VA. A way to save money at the expense of our returning heroes.

In October, while he was uninsured, Ngo had a seizure, caused by his war injury. He remembers being outside and blacking out; he fell to the ground on the driveway. “My girlfriend was freaking out because she didn’t know what to do,” Ngo says. “She didn’t know if I was going to die because I had hit the wrong side of my head.” An ambulance took Ngo to the nearest emergency room for treatment. It cost him $10,000. Ngo says that today, the bills for the incident are still unresolved.

Read the rest of this story here

Homeless Veterans – Overview of the Problem

I’ve recently posted a Homeless Veterans – Summary article which I have retitled and copied to a special page titled “Homeless Veterans – Overview of the Problem” (see the links above my banner).   I’ve added to it a link that pulls all of the Homeless Veterans series together,  more than 50 articles.   It is also copied below.

I invite you to come back and read this series.  It is an eye-opener.   The one thing you should gain is an understanding of how massive the problem is and how underfunded the VA allocations are for helping our Heroes sleeping on our sidewalks for lack of government help.    Veterans make up only 1/17 of the US population but 1/3 of the homeless population.   Considering male veterans, it is even worse.  Male veterans make up 43% of the homeless adult male population.  Something is dreadfully wrong.

If our government took care of our men and women who have served us in war so well, then the overall homeless problem could be reduced by 40% overnight. With 40% less to feed and clothe, our so generous secular and religious homeless service organizations could cope with the rest of the homeless problem so much better.

Read the complete overview here (reprinted below).

Find all the Homeless Veteran articles here (85 to  date)

There is a Problem and the VA is not stepping up to the plate to address it.

It should be obvious by now that our homeless veterans are not being served well at all.  If the homeless veterans were properly cared for by our country, the total homeless population would fall by more than 40 percent over night.

Homeless services would then have sufficient funding to move many of the rest of the homeless off the streets into transitional housing with services that bring them back into the working population.   It would be a dream come true.  If only our country would step up to the plate, homelessness in our country would be virtually eliminated.  If only….

Lets Summarize the Homeless Veteran Situation.

750,000 total homeless count in U.S
400,000  veterans are homeless at some time in a  year
200,000 veterans homeless in any one night

27% of our male U.S. population are veterans but:
43% of all homeless males are veterans – why?


7688 beds funded by the VA for homeless veterans
192,312 sleeping elsewhere – shelters, grates, creekbeds, back alleys.    We have Heroes sleeping on sidewalks in every big city.

The VA says homelessness is not related to military service, but:

Veterans are twice as likely to be homeless than civilians

You may think that homeless veterans served poorly in military, but:

95% of homeless vets have honorable discharges

The VA claims it has the largest network of homeless assistance programs in the country, but:

Total VA funding is only $1.37 per homeless vet per day.
VA funded beds provide for only 1 of every 26 homeless vets
VA funds only 7688 beds for 200,000 homeless veterans on any given night of the year.

Current (2007) grants cover only 1 bed per 192 mentally ill homeless veterans, and allocates only 14 cents a day per mentally ill veteran.  Fifteen states get none of these grant monies, 15 more get grants for one organization in the state, and 20 get the bulk of the funding.

The VA announced a 20% reduction in homeless vets over the last 6 years, but failed to say it was due to the way they count them.  The number they reported hasn’t changed in the last four years.  During the same period, more than 23% of our Vietnam vets died.

The mix of homeless veterans has changed in the last 9 years
1997             2006
Korea             1o%               4%           almost gone
Vietnam          42%              39%        dying out
Gulf War         10%              16%        rapidly increasing

Our Korean veterans are getting old and dying out
Our Gulf War veterans are increasing rapidly
Our Vietnam veterans have the largest homeless rate by far.

Fact:  If our country stepped up to the plate and provided for our homeless veterans,  the homeless population would fall instantly by 43 percent.

Note:  To find all of the more than 85 Homeless Veterans articles Click Here

I’ve made a few of the posts dealing with useful facts pages that are listed above the banner at the top of this site.   (where you found this one).

Heroes don’t deserve

to be treated like this!

Write your Congressman!

Oldtimer

Homeless Veterans – An Overview of the Problem

It should be obvious by now that our homeless veterans are not being served well at all.  If the homeless veterans were properly cared for by our country, the total homeless population would fall by at least one third over night.   

Homeless services would then have sufficient funding to move many of the rest of the homeless off the streets into transitional housing with services that bring them back into the working population.   It would be a dream come true.  If only our country would step up to the plate, homelessness in our country would be virtually eliminated.  If only….

Lets Summarize the Homeless Veteran Situation

750,000 total homeless count in U.S
400,000  veterans are homeless per year
200,000 veterans homeless in any one night
1/17 of our U.S. population are veterans but:
1/3 of all homeless are veterans
7688 beds funded by the VA for homeless veterans
192,312 sleeping elsewhere – shelters, grates, creekbeds, back alleys.    We have Heroes sleeping on sidewalks in every big city.

The VA says homelessness is not related to military service, but:

Veterans are 5 times more likely to be homeless than civilians

You may think that homeless veterans served poorly in military, but:

95% of homeless vets have honorable discharges

The VA claims it has the largest network of homeless assistance programs in the country, but:

VA funding is only $1.37 per homeless vet per day
VA funded beds provide for only 1 of every 26 homeless vets
VA funds only 7688 beds for 200,000 homeless veterans on any given night of the year.
 

The mix of homeless veterans has changed in the last 9 years
                  1997             2006
Korea            1o%               4%           
Vietnam         42%              39%
Gulf War         10%              16%

Our Korean veterans are getting old and dying out
Our Gulf War veterans are increasing rapidly
Our Vietnam veterans have the largest homeless rate by far.

Fact:  If our country stepped up to the plate and provided for our homeless veterans,  the homeless population would fall instantly by 33 percent.

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VA Allocates $1.37 per Homeless Vet per day.

Maybe an egg biscuit and water?   What kind of Hero treatment is that?   It is little wonder that the VA can only host the homeless with a Stand Down once a year.   Let’s look at the facts as provided by the Veteran’s Administration:

 (This is a two day’s ration, about $2.60)

Photo by  Carey Tilden    

The Veteran’s Administration says this about its homeless program: 

“VA is the only federal agency that provides substantial hands-on assistance directly to the homeless. It has the largest network of homeless assistance programs in the country.  More than 10,000 transitional housing units and 2,000 permanent beds case managed by VA staff are available for homeless veterans throughout the country.”

There is a back side to that in the same paragraph: 

“More than $200 million is dedicated to specialized homeless programs to assist homeless veterans, including grants and per diem payments to more than 300 public groups.”

And the VA says this on the homeless webpage:

“About one-third of the adult homeless population have served their country in the Armed Services. On any given day, as many as 200,000 veterans (male and female) are living on the streets or in shelters, and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Many other veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.”

Ok, lets see how this all adds up.   200 million funding per year, 400,000 homeless veterans per year and 200,000 homeless any one night.  That is $500 per year per homeless hero ($1.37 per day) spread across all programs including grants, per diem and 300 public groups .    

A dollar-thirty-seven a day.  No wonder the vets like being homeless so much – they are getting rich off the per diem!  Oh -wait – I forgot this isn’t 1807, it is 2007!    Hoo boy, what a rip. 

Wait… we are about to forget about the beds!  The VA’s  2005 VA CHALENG  report says 7688 beds, the VA’s PR report says 10,000 transitional (not permanent) beds and 2000 permanent beds.  So we give them the benefit of the doubt 12,000 beds. 

OK where are the other 188,000 homeless veterans going to sleep?   Oh, yeah right, down to only 16 vets per bed from the 25 using the other numbers.   Still ok for cold nights, cosy even. 

I read from several of the faith-based community providers that the VA gives them $30 a day to house a homeless veteran.   If that is the case, 200 million dollars would fund a total of 18,265 beds for a year, if no other programs used any of the money.   Still short about 181,000 beds, or else 15 vets per bed.  

But then, these are only Heroes that used to fight wars, not troops to be supported anymore.   After all, what have they done for us lately? A better question is, “what have we done for them lately?”  These men and women that served our country in time of war deserve 10,000 times better.

Our Heroes are still out there – just look in any alley and along any creek.   Forty three percent of all homeless men are veterans, virtually all overlooked by our country. 

We need to hold our heads down and cry!

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Click For All homeless veterans articles

Homeless Bedlam: 25 to the Bed!

Data taken from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.   The following table shows the number of beds funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program in each state compared to the estimated number of homeless veterans reported in each state. This information was taken from the 2005 VA CHALENG Report and tabulated and published by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. 

AK              0              450
AL             42              816
AR             40           1,350
AZ           199           3,637
CA         1,875         49,546
CO           102           3,895
CT           103           4,675
DC             43           2,400
DE             15              500
FL            430          19,394
GA           165           5,715
HI            118             800
IA              56              615
ID              10              350
IL             136           2,243
IN             108          1,300
KS             47              620
KY           115              963
LA           150           10,897
MA          378            1,680
MD          241           3,100
ME              0               120
MI           139           2,910
MN            23              493
MO            82           4,800
MS             60           1,136
MT             17             247
NC           182           1,601
ND              0           1,000
NE             12              460
NH            36              350
NJ           142           6,500
NM           30              902
NV          201            4,600
NY          274          12,700
OH          261          1,898
OK            27             770
OR          159          6,940
PA          332          2,691
RI             23             175
SC           110         1,375
SD            42            165
TN          241         2,500
TX          233       15,434
UT          145           585
VA            86           911
VT            10            20
WA         167         6,567
WI          209           915
WV          41           357
WY          31           111
PR             0            75

TOTAL 7,688    194,254

YES!  You are seeing what you think you are seeing.  Less than 8000 beds for nearly 200,000 veterans.    

Government Standard?   25 Veterans per bed.    

Repeat after Me:  That Ain’t Right!   That Just Ain’t Right!

Our heroes deserve better than that.

Support All our troups – past present future

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Homeless Veterans Chart 1997-2006 Changes

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF GOSPEL MISSIONS Veteran’s Survey –  1997  and 2006  

The original survey of more than 1,200 veterans was conducted in 1997  by 58 Rescue missions around the nation.   Today I asked the AGRM if they had any updated information and Phil Rydman, Director of Communications of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions in Kansas City was kind enough to immediately send me summary data for years 1990 through 2006 which was  collected in their extensive yearly surveys.   Data on veterans was collected beginning 1997.     

NOTE from Oldtimer:  The Data is from AGRM, the charts are mine.   

Where did you serve?

  •                   1997             2006
  • Korea            1o%               4%           
  • Vietnam         42%              39%
  • Gulf War         10%              16%

 Chart 1997 vs 2006 homeless veterans

You can see that the Korean Veterans are now declining due to death and age, whereas the Gulf War veterans are increasing.   The year by year data (not shown here)  shows a sharp peak for the Korean homeless veterans in 1998 (16%) and a sharp decline beginning in 2002.    The year by year data also shows that the Gulf War homeless veterans had gradual increas to 2005, but then  a sharp jump (12% to 16%) in numbers from 2005 to 2006.

(The AGRM serves 32 million meals and provide 14 million nights of lodging each year.   What a blessing this organization is.  I thank them for collecting and sharing this data.)

These Heroes are still out there!  Support these troops too!

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Click For All homeless veterans articles

Survey of 1,200 Homeless Veterans

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF GOSPEL MISSIONS Veteran’s Survey – October, 1997 This survey of more than 1,200 veterans was conducted in late October by 58 Rescue missions around the nation

NOTE from Oldtimer:  The Data is from IUGM, the charts are mine. 

1. Which branch of the service were you in?

    Army 49%
    Navy 19%
    Marines 19%
    Air Force 12%
    Coast Guard 1%

    Homeless Vets service

2. Which of the following (if any) are true:

    I served in Korea during the Korean War 10%
    I served in Vietnam during the Vietnam Conflict 42%
    I served in the Persian Gulf region during the Gulf War 10%

    Theatre Served

3. The total number of years you spent in the armed forces:

    Less than 2 yrs 25%
    3-4 yrs 44%
    5-6 yrs 15%
    7-9 yrs 7%
    10+ yrs 9%

4. In what decade did you leave the armed forces?

    Before 1950 4%
    1950 – 1959 11%
    1960 – 1969 20%
    1970 – 1979 33%
    1980 – 1989 20%
    1990 – 1997 12%

5 What type of discharge did you receive?

    Honorable 71%
    General 17%
    Medical 7%
    Dishonorable 5%

    Discharge Type

6. You are:

    Male 96%
    Female 4%

7. You are :

    Caucasian 51%
    African-American 37%
    Hispanic 6%
    Other 6%

Notice that only a very few homeless have dishonorable discharges.   Most of our homeless veterans have honorable discharges!    These veterans do not deserve to be treated like this!

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Click For All homeless veterans articles

Picture Worth Thousand Words

My previous post gave a few statistics to illustrate the homeless problem among our veterans.   5.7 percent of the population vs 27.6 percent of the homeless.   Some of you are more visual oriented, so I thought I might make a chart showing the veterans and the homeless makeup.  The charts below illustrate my point nicely and also illustrate that is even worse than you feared.Homeless Pie Chart  

The area inside the red sector represents the veterans in both charts.

Not only do the homeless make up more than 1/4 of the homeless, they make up almost 60 percent of the homeless male population.   That’s right, more than half the adult males you see on the street served as wartime soldiers.  The ones we are told to support, as in “Support our Troops”.  

How can the VA suggest that there is no causal relationship among homeless veterans due to military service?    They can because they are not funded or equipped to do anything about it.   So they hide the problem behind the same kind of weasel-words that this country has always used to dishonor our troops when they are of no further use.

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Click For All homeless veterans articles

Homeless Veterans – History Repeating Itself?

There is a famous saying, going back over 3000 years:   “Every time history repeats itself, the price goes up.”   Our Country has a history of abandoning its veterans and the price in human misery among them has skyrocketed.   Ted Rall’s March 13 opinion column, “Suckered Again” said it best:  “Abandonment of Vets is a Military Tradition”.   The facts listed in the block below, although paraphrased, come from his column.   Use the link and read his remarkable piece.

He points out that most of the Revolutionary veterans died before pensions were issued more than 40 years after the war ended.  Even then, only indigent veterans were eligible.  The Civil War veterans received only a few hundred dollars total pension and by 1868, the New York Governor reported that thousands of homeless veterans could be found in that state.   Out of more than 300,000 wounded in World War I, only 47,000 claims were accepted.   The P.O.W.s of the Korean war were denied back pay for their time in captivity. 

So what kind of treatment are our veterans getting now?  

According to the VA there are 200,000 veterans sleeping on the street, in shelters or camping along creeks on any given night.   The bulk of them are from the Vietnam and Korean wars.    According to the latest homeless count available there were 750,000 total homeless in 2005.  That means our veterans make up 27.6 percent of the nations homeless.

According to the VA, there are a total of 17.2 million living war veterans from all wars, including 7.2 million from Vietnam and 3 million from Korea.   According to the Census Bureau, our U.S. population is 301 million.   Do the math: 

Veterans comprise 27.6 percent of the homeless , but only 5.7 percent of the U.S. population.  

Veterans are nearly 5 times as likely to be homeless than the rest of our population.

Something is dreadfully wrong.  

Here is what the VA says in their Homeless Overview:

About one-third of the adult homeless population have served their country in the Armed Services. On any given day, as many as 200,000 veterans (male and female) are living on the streets or in shelters, and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Many other veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing

And here is how they explain away any relationship to military service:

Although many homeless veterans served in combat in Vietnam and suffer from PTSD, at this time, epidemiologic studies do not suggest that there is a causal connection between military service, service in Vietnam, or exposure to combat and homelessness among veterans.  Family background, access to support from family and friends, and various personal characteristics (rather than military service) seem to be the stronger indicators of risk of homelessness.

Now that is a bunch of bull hockey.  If that were true, the number of homeless veterans would be about 43,000 instead of 200,000.    Do the math.

The VA has continued to delay diagnosis and ultimately deny treatment for a wide range of military related war injuries, shock, stress, chemical and various syndromes.   Gulf War Syndrome – denied for 95 percent of applicants by an artificial 2 year cutoff date for symptoms.  There is a history of mistreatment since this country was born and it continues today.   Read Ted Rall’s paper for details.  
 

Note:  If you have noticed a difference in my figures from my earlier posts, it is because my earlier figures included peacetime veterans and the above figures include only war-time veterans. 

Oldtimer’s Comment:  Click For All homeless veterans articles