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  1.    #1  
    I cannot even see straight as I type this....I'm so mad.

    Study: Vets a quarter of the homeless
    Study finds that veterans constitute a quarter of America’s homeless
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.
    And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.

    The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.
    The Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.

    In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000.
    Some advocates say such an early presence of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took roughly a decade for the lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the point that they started showing up among the homeless. Advocates worry that intense and repeated deployments leave newer veterans particularly vulnerable.


    “We’re going to be having a tsunami of them eventually because the mental health toll from this war is enormous,” said Daniel Tooth, director of veterans affairs for Lancaster County, Pa.

    Advocates fight for more resources
    While services to homeless veterans have improved in the past 20 years, advocates say more financial resources still are needed.
    With the spotlight on the plight of Iraq veterans, they hope more will be done to prevent homelessness and provide affordable housing to the younger veterans while there’s a window of opportunity.


    “When the Vietnam War ended, that was part of the problem. The war was over, it was off TV, nobody wanted to hear about it,” said John Keaveney, a Vietnam veteran and a founder of New Directions in Los Angeles, which provides substance abuse help, job training and shelter to veterans.

    “I think they’ll be forgotten,” Keaveney said of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. “People get tired of it. It’s not glitzy that these are young, honorable, patriotic Americans. They’ll just be veterans, and that happens after every war.”

    Keaveney said it’s difficult for his group to persuade some homeless Iraq veterans to stay for treatment and help because they don’t relate to the older veterans. Those who stayed have had success — one is now a stockbroker and another is applying to be a police officer, he said.
    “They see guys that are their father’s age and they don’t understand, they don’t know, that in a couple of years they’ll be looking like them,” he said.

    One vet's story
    After being discharged from the military, Jason Kelley, 23, of Tomahawk, Wis., who served in Iraq with the Wisconsin National Guard, took a bus to Los Angeles looking for better job prospects and a new life.

    Kelley said he couldn’t find a job because he didn’t have an apartment, and he couldn’t get an apartment because he didn’t have a job. He stayed in a $300-a-week motel until his money ran out, then moved into a shelter run by the group U.S. VETS in Inglewood, Calif. He’s since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.
    “The only training I have is infantry training, and there’s not really a need for that in the civilian world,” Kelley said in a phone interview. He has enrolled in college and hopes to move out of the shelter soon.


    Historical precedent
    The Iraq vets seeking help with homelessness are more likely to be women, less likely to have substance abuse problems, but more likely to have mental illness — mostly related to post-traumatic stress, said Pete Dougherty, director of homeless veterans programs at the VA.
    Overall, 45 percent of participants in the VA’s homeless programs have a diagnosable mental illness and more than three out of four have a substance abuse problem, while 35 percent have both, Dougherty said.
    Historically, a number of fighters in U.S. wars have become homeless. In the post-Civil War era, homeless veterans sang old Army songs to dramatize their need for work and became known as “tramps,” which had meant to march into war, said Todd DePastino, a historian at Penn State University’s Beaver campus who wrote a book on the history of homelessness.

    After World War I, thousands of veterans — many of them homeless — camped in the nation’s capital seeking bonus money. Their camps were destroyed by the government, creating a public relations disaster for President Herbert Hoover.

    The end of the Vietnam War coincided with a time of economic restructuring, and many of the same people who fought in Vietnam were also those most affected by the loss of manufacturing jobs, DePastino said.


    Their entrance to the streets was traumatic and, as they aged, their problems became more chronic, recalled Sister Mary Scullion, who has worked with the homeless for 30 years and co-founded of the group Project H.O.M.E. in Philadelphia.

    “It takes more to address the needs because they are multiple needs that have been unattended,” Scullion said. “Life on the street is brutal and I know many, many homeless veterans who have died from Vietnam.”

    VA partners with homeless programs
    The VA started targeting homelessness in 1987, 12 years after the fall of Saigon. Today, the VA has, either on its own or through partnerships, more than 15,000 residential rehabilitative, transitional and permanent beds for homeless veterans nationwide. It spends about $265 million annually on homeless-specific programs and about $1.5 billion for all health care costs for homeless veterans.

    Because of these types of programs and because two years of free medical care is being offered to all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Dougherty said they hope many veterans from recent wars who are in need can be identified early.

    “Clearly, I don’t think that’s going to totally solve the problem, but I also don’t think we’re simply going to wait for 10 years until they show up,” Dougherty said. “We’re out there now trying to get everybody we can to get those kinds of services today, so we avoid this kind of problem in the future.”

    Group: 500,000 vets homeless in past year
    In all of 2006, the Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that 495,400 veterans were homeless at some point during the year.
    The group recommends that 5,000 housing units be created per year for the next five years dedicated to the chronically homeless that would provide permanent housing linked to veterans’ support systems. It also recommends funding an additional 20,000 housing vouchers exclusively for homeless veterans, and creating a program that helps bridge the gap between income and rent.

    Following those recommendations would cost billions of dollars, but there is some movement in Congress to increase the amount of money dedicated to homeless veterans programs.
    On a recent day in Philadelphia, case managers from Project H.O.M.E. and the VA picked up William Joyce, 60, a homeless Vietnam veteran in a wheelchair who said he’d been sleeping at a bus terminal.

    “You’re an honorable veteran. You’re going to get some services,” outreach worker Mark Salvatore told Joyce. “You need to be connected. You don’t need to be out here on the streets.”


    © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  2. #2  
    It occurred to me that those who's only option was to enter a job where they are likely to be put in harms way for very little compensation were more likely than the norm to end up homeless in any case, whether they had actually made it into the army or not.

    Surur
  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    It occurred to me that those who's only option was to enter a job where they are likely to be put in harms way for very little compensation were more likely than the norm to end up homeless in any case, whether they had actually made it into the army or not.

    Surur
    I wish it had occurred to you how callous that statement sounds. It sounds as if you’re looking down your nose at what I consider to be honorable men and women, irrespective of their station in life.
    Iago

    "Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash . . . But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him
    And makes me poor indeed."


    Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.
    - Howard Scott
  4. #4  
    post-traumatic stress, and the overall trauma that comes from the experience of war, is more than enough to make anyone a social outcast.

    Drug and alcohol abuse is a symptom of inexpressionable pain, a form of self medication.
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  5. #5  
    I prefer to look at al aspects of the story, not just the ones that are politically correct.

    Surur
    Last edited by surur; 11/08/2007 at 03:21 AM.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    Drug and alcohol abuse is a symptom of inexpressionable pain, a form of self medication.
    I agree it does not take something as severe as post-traumatic stress to drive many people to this point. Professionally and personally I have seen this solution ruin lives far too many times.
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal View Post
    I agree it does not take something as severe as post-traumatic stress to drive many people to this point. Professionally and personally I have seen this solution ruin lives far too many times.
    I know a woman (though not well), whose son returned from Iraq a disturbed and changed man -- regularly doing alcohol and drugs, attempting suicide, eventually getting into criminal trouble.

    He had been a icon of his small Texas community before, and now he's in jail.

    His mother (and young sister) have become among the leading active opponents of the war.
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  8. gojeda's Avatar
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    #8  
    I suggest to those who are intent on politicising the issue as some sort indictment on whether a given war is "just" or not to exercise a bit of judgement and decorum.

    Anyway, upon reading this nation disgrace that has gone for far too long, I was immediately reminded of the immortal movie classic The Best Years of Our Lives. The three protagonists in the film, ultimately, re-adjusted to the families and life left behind. Modboy's article deals with the reality of those who do not.

    The relative inactivity of both parties to address the issue is not only startling, but non-sensical. Not only should these veterans be taken care of when they come back home, but they should be taken care of "beautifully".

    I am surprised none of the candidates have made this issue 1 (or issue 1a) of their campaigns. This could be one of thos "feel' good issues that would get wide support.
    Last edited by gojeda; 11/08/2007 at 07:48 AM.
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    It occurred to me that those who's only option was to enter a job where they are likely to be put in harms way for very little compensation were more likely than the norm to end up homeless in any case, whether they had actually made it into the army or not.

    Surur
    I cannot believe you posted this. This isn't necessarily a political statement - unless you're assuming I am assigning equal blame to both parties (because I am). This is an American tragedy and these troops should be afforded proper care - no, the very BEST care - when they come home. Period.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    I cannot believe you posted this. This isn't necessarily a political statement - unless you're assuming I am assigning equal blame to both parties (because I am). This is an American tragedy and these troops should be afforded proper care - no, the very BEST care - when they come home. Period.
    I know you are in an election season, but not everything is about politics. Maybe you need to do some research before jumping to conclusions and assigning blame.

    How about this for a start:

    - One fourth of all army recruits are put into remedial classes so that they can understand training manuals written at a seventh-grade level.
    http://www.eaea.org/index.php?k=12075

    Up to half of the 12,000 Army recruits in the UK each year are at or below literacy and numeracy levels expected of 11–year–olds, a report by the Basic Skills Agency says. More than half of Army managers found the poor skill levels prevented soldiers from carrying out their jobs. The report, “Army Basic Skills Provision: Whole Organisation Approach, Lessons Learnt,” found that while half of Army recruits had the basic skills of students completing primary school, up to 9% were at the lower standard expected of seven and eight-year-olds. It also found that many of the 9,500 foreign nationals serving in the British Army required additional English language training. Read the article at the BBC News website.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6418683.stm

    Do you realize than in America, if you have below basic literacy you are nearly 60% likely to be unemployed? And maybe there is an association between male unemployment and homelessness?

    BTW, just being in the military is not a honored profession, else they would be paid more.

    Surur
    Last edited by surur; 11/08/2007 at 08:17 AM.
  11.    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I know you are in an election season, but not everything is about politics.
    Right. Hence the disclaimer that I blame both parties and statements that it is an American tragedy.


    Maybe you need to do some research before jumping to conclusions and assigning blame.

    How about this for a start:

    http://www.eaea.org/index.php?k=12075

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6418683.stm

    Do you realize than in America, if you have below basic literacy you are nearly 60% likely to be unemployed?
    And? So if you cannot read (which is another travesty in and of itself) then you are somehow less of a human being and as such deserve to fight in combat to protect the rights of those that can read? And when you get home, because you couldn't read to begin with, you get to go back to the streets and be homeless, where you "would have been anyway"?

    Your line of thinking is fundamentally flawed. For one thing, the Army shouldn't be recruiting illiterates. They certainly shouldn't be recruiting those known to be mentally ill. Perhaps they shouldn't recruit those prone to be mentally ill either. But all of that aside, once they are in the military and serve their country to protect the freedoms of those that CAN read, and ARE NOT predisposed to mental illness, I don't think they should come home to live their lives out the way someone like you "guesses" their lives would have turned out anyway. They deserve the benefit of the doubt that maybe your "guesses" are wrong and they would have become productive members of society and should be afforded all opportunities to become productive members of society. They've earned it!

    And maybe there is an association between male unemployment and homelessness?
    Maybe? Maybe you're trying to make an argument that has little to do with the fact that we're not taking care of our soldiers when they come home from combat.

    BTW, just being in the military is not a honored profession, else they would be paid more.

    Surur
    Well I think you might have a point there - as callous and snobby as it sounds. But what does that have to do with how badly we are treating our vets when they return home?
  12. #12  
    The point I am making is that there is nothing specially significant about them being vets and homeless. We should be working to help all homeless, and I am sure your tax dollars are doing just that. Why does the 25% that are vets deserve much more resources than the 75% that are not?

    Maybe the problem starts in the education system, and thats where it needs to be addressed, with more vocational training for example, vs only making sure no vet ever ends up on the street.

    Surur
  13. tirk's Avatar
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Iago View Post
    It sounds as if you’re looking down your nose at what I consider to be honorable men and women, irrespective of their station in life.
    Like William Calley?
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  14.    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    The point I am making is that there is nothing specially significant about them being vets and homeless. We should be working to help all homeless, and I am sure your tax dollars are doing just that. Why does the 25% that are vets deserve much more resources than the 75% that are not?

    Maybe the problem starts in the education system, and thats where it needs to be addressed, with more vocational training for example, vs only making sure no vet ever ends up on the street.

    Surur
    Well if you're saying it’s a systemic problem that is failing and needs to be looked at holistically to better mitigate the risk of vets ending up homeless, then I'd agree.

    But I stand by my position that the number of homeless vets in this country is disgraceful. No matter the circumstances or reasons for them ending up homeless, the system is failing and it is galling to me that we as a nation aren't doing more to improve the treatment of our vets when they return home. Instead, there are those in this country that think they are doing their part by putting a stupid yellow-ribbon sticker on their BMW to show their support for the troops or wear an American flag pin on their lapel.

  15.    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by tirk View Post
    Like William Calley?
    Please tell me you're not equating all combat veterans with that of William Calley?
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    It occurred to me that those who's only option was to enter a job where they are likely to be put in harms way for very little compensation were more likely than the norm to end up homeless in any case, whether they had actually made it into the army or not.

    Surur
    Possibly, if the US grows old enough to learn some hard lessons, it may realize that the youth of America are not a crop to be harvested and consumed by war for its government, versus serving the nation's people. That is the lesson of veterans' homelessness. They've been failed, twice, by their government.
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by lifes2short View Post
    Possibly, if the US grows old enough to learn some hard lessons, it may realize that the youth of America are not a crop to be harvested and consumed by war for its government, versus serving the nation's people. That is the lesson of veterans' homelessness. They've been failed, twice, by their government.
    yup

    A govenment that sends them out to harm is responsible for making them whole when (and if) they return
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  18. gatorray's Avatar
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    #18  
    Wow...disturbing statistic. I do believe that being in the military puts you in a different situation, no matter how you got there. I joined the military because I was tired of working menial jobs and wanted to learn a trade. I was in during the first Gulf War and never regretted it. When transitioning out of the military during the normal post-war reduction in force, I benefited from my government (i.e. GI Bill helped me get my degrees, VA helped me buy my first house, etc...) I was never in a combat zone while overseas and was happy with the benefits I received, but for those that are in a combat zone now, they deserve to be taken care of to the fullest when they get back. Get them work, get them any treatment they need, and get them a place to live...whether you believe in the war or not, help out these veterans whenever you can. They deserve it.

    Just to clarify why I single out those in combat zones...when you are not in a combat zone, you are easily able to benefit from being in the military. Example, you can take a degree or work on your education in some way. When in a combat zone, you don't have that ability...you are too busy staying alive.
  19. gatorray's Avatar
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    yup

    A govenment that sends them out to harm is responsible for making them whole when (and if) they return
    Amen!
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post

    BTW, just being in the military is not a honored profession, else they would be paid more.

    Surur
    Then I suppose with this line of reasoning, you feel the same way about the teacher that taught YOU how to read? What about the policeman or fireman that may have to one day save YOUR life, or the life of a loved one?
    Last edited by Iago; 11/08/2007 at 12:07 PM.
    Iago

    "Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash . . . But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him
    And makes me poor indeed."


    Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.
    - Howard Scott
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