Homeless Veterans: an unseen epidemic

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Noki4 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #5533

    marinesargeant
    Participant

    Several months ago I met another former Marine while taking the Disabled American Vets van to an appointment at the VA. He kind of latched onto me and we talked and texted back and forth on a regular basis. One day, he called to ask if by chance I could come and pick him up close to another city 30 miles from here. My wife and I did and while heading back towards Heber Springs with him, he broke down and let us know he was homeless. I looked over at my wife and she nodded so I said that we have a spare bed and he could stay while we got things worked out for him. I started hitting google to see what I could find. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the VA is actually working on getting homeless vets off the street. They will not only take the veteran in and give them a roof and food, they will ensure that they get the medical help that they need. This includes psychological help. They will help the veteran find a job and even vouchers for housing through HUD in the community of their choice. They will also train the veteran to help them get a good paying job.
    The only problem with this program, as with most of the benefits, is that the VA is not getting the message out. Us veterans don’t even know a tenth of the benefits we receive as veterans.
    What my final point of this ramble is that if you see someone on the street, say hi to them. Find out if they are veterans and let them know about this program. Even if they are not veterans, they are people. All they may need to get going again is to know that we care. And not put them on a bus to another town or state so that the local government can say that they have no homeless program. Take the time and see if there are any programs or groups that will help the homeless out and direct them to that. I was within a hairs breathe of being homeless myself several years back.

  • #5536

    TPC_Opa
    Moderator

    Great post sgt! Here is the link to the program and you can also download posters, brochures, etc. to put up around your town to help the homeless veterans.

    http://www.va.gov/homeless/

    There are approximately 130,000 to 200,000 homeless veterans every night according to the National Coalition for the Homeless: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/veterans.html. The VA intends to end the homeless veteran problem by the end of the year. We shall see and hope for the best.

    Opa

  • #5555

    petmom1
    Participant

    How is he doing now, Sarg? It makes me sad how our Vets put their lives on the line for us and we thank them by ignoring their needs & struggles when they return. This is a civil society??? Well, at least they are not treated disgracefully as the Vietnam Vets were treated. Sigh as I smh.

  • #5582

    marinesargeant
    Participant

    Follow up on the story of the homeless veteran we were attempting to help. Saturday Afternoon I lay down to take a nap. Woke up to some movement in the room and without my glasses couldn’t make out a figure going into the master bathroom. Both the vet and my wife have dark curly hair. I lay there watching the bathroom door to see who it was. I heard a crash and got out of bed and went to the bathroom. The vet was lying on the floor with a bottle of my wife’s meds in his hands and he was still attempting to open them. I went off on him DI style and told him to pack his trash and get out of my house. He had stolen most of my wife’s xanax either Saturday or Friday plus we had a jar with 1 dollar bills in the room we were saving to take our gk’s to Disneyworld. I figure that he took at least $50. I am very disillusioned and my wife and I have decided that our charity will only extend to beings that appreciate what you do for them and give love instead of take from us. By this I mean dogs and cats. This has been a big blow to me and my faith in my fellow vets….

  • #5583

    petmom1
    Participant

    That really makes me sad to hear. He really blew his chance to turn his life around. It makes you think that he wanted to get caught–making that attempt while you were home and napping. What an invasion of privacy you must be feeling, knowing that you entrusted him into the safety of your home and he paid you back by rummaging through your home looking for drugs and money. I suppose he never went into treatment as you had taken the time to arrange for him? I guess the desire to escape his demons overrode the desire to get clean and sober. How do you help someone find meaning in their life again, if they are not willing to work for it. SIGH. Maybe someday in the future, he will find you and apologize for the harm he caused as he works his steps towards rehabilitation—my wish for both of you.

  • #5618

    Noki4
    Participant

    MarineSgt,

    It makes my heart hurt that you and your wife had this to happen. You took this young man in to your home and truly wanted to help him get a fresh start and the monster of drug abuse had a tight grip on this young man and he could not break free.
    It is so sad that he was being given a chance to change his life for the better and he totally threw it away. I hope that this young man will find the help he needs to beat the monster and you know if he does, part of it will be because you and your wife took him in and tried to give him another chance at life.

    Please know that you did everything right for this young man. The monster was stronger than his will to stop the abuse of drugs. I will continue hope that one day he finds the strength to let it go.

    Take care,
    Noki4

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