There is a growing number of homeless veterans, and they aren’t the old guys with a bottle in a paper sack who fought in Vietnam. An estimated 9,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are homeless.
An excellent video and article done by Bob Woodruff and Ian Caemeron for ABC News captures the feelings of three of these homeless veterans.
“It was embarrassing,” [Jose] Pagan says. “Honor, pride, duty, loyalty, all these things that we — that kick in as a soldier, you know. And then to find yourself here,” as he points to the park benches where he slept for almost two months.
Jose was one of the soldiers highlighted in this report. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) tries its best to make sure no veteran is left alone when they come home, but there are plenty of gaps that some may fall into. The VA even seems to think the number of new homeless vets may be greater than 9,000.
“The military is beginning to understand why more veterans are homeless. ‘I think we have to do a better job of ensuring that all soldiers, not just those that are seriously wounded, are informed of the services that are available to them and so none of them leave the service and find themselves in a situation where they have nowhere to live,’ the Vice Chief of the Army General Peter Chiarelli told ABC.” – from the ABC News report.
Helping Veterans should top our list when thinking about housing the homeless. These people gave the ultimate sacrifice to serve us and our country. They deserve a fighting chance when they come back home. Help HealthNet serve the veterans. Our Homeless Initiative Program (HIP) has the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) that provides employment training and home search services. Donate directly to HIP or help raise awareness for homeless veterans everywhere.