We pass them on the overpass. We judge them and ask how they got that way. Then we feel sorry for them and vow to never make those same decisions. Whose to say they made a bad decision? They made the move to better their lives and for whatever reason, that decision took a turn and landed them in the position they’re in. We should salute and respect all our veterans. They made the ultimate sacrifice and survived harsh realities that none of us could imagine going through. Things that keep them awake at night and away from their families.
Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 57,849 veterans are homeless on any given night.
Approximately 12,700 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) were homeless in 2010. The number of young homeless veterans is increasing, but only constitutes 8.8% of the overall homeless veteran population.
A large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.
A top priority for homeless veterans is secure, safe, clean housing that offers a supportive environment free of drugs and alcohol.
What can you do to help our homeless?
- Determine the need in your community. Visit with homeless veteran service providers. Contact your mayor’s office for a list of providers, or search the NCHV database.
- Involve others. If you are not already part of an organization, align yourself with a few other people who are interested in attacking this issue.
- Participate in local homeless coalitions. Chances are, there is one in your community. If not, this could be the time to bring people together around this critical need.
- Make a donation to your local homeless veteran service provider.
- Contact your elected officials. Discuss what is being done in your community for homeless veterans.
- Take whatever is left over from your cookout and take it to a homeless shelter. Maybe even set up a grill for them and cook for them.
- Host a shoes and clothing drive to donate to the veterans center or homeless shelter.
- PRAY for them ALWAYS!
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER?INSTAGRAM @KIKIBROWN92Q
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MSKIKIBROWN