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Proviso Probe

Sunday, November 12, 2006

VETERANS, Sun-Times publishes letter about homeless veterans issue

This was written by a Maywood resident. See Sun-Times.
On Nov. 11, Americans all over the country will honor the past and present sacrifices of our soldiers on our national Veterans Day. Yet, over half a million of our veterans will be homeless at some point during this year. One out of every three homeless men in our cities and towns has worn the uniform. As more and more soldiers return from Afghanistan and Iraq, this dire situation will only get worse. We must do better.

Hopefully, there will be a time when no American is homeless. There are 37 million Americans who call the State of Poverty home: 14.3 million women, 13 million children, and 3.5 million are homeless. They all need help regardless of the reasons and causes for their poverty. But surely we can all agree that those who have served in the military and defended our nation deserve a place to call home.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has introduced two pieces of legislation in the Senate that combat this crisis. The first is the Sheltering All Veterans Everywhere Act (S.1180), which expands federal homeless veteran programs that serve more than 100,000 homeless veterans annually. The second bill is the Homes for Heroes Act (S. 3475), which would give more homeless veterans access to long-term affordable housing. By allocating $225 million to the Homes for Heroes Act, more veterans would be able to purchase, build or rehabilitate homes and apartments.

But our efforts cannot end with housing. Employment must be addressed as well. Transitional job programs would be extremely useful in this regard. A large percentage of homeless veterans exhibit the sorts of employment-blocking problems that transitional jobs programming successfully addresses. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana has introduced the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2006 (S. 3607) that would set aside federal grants for states to create those programs. Our fervent hope is that Congress makes all three of these items a priority.

To truly support our troops, we must not only support them when they are abroad, but also when they come home. After all, we as Americans have a solemn obligation, as Abraham Lincoln put it, ''to care for him who shall have borne the battle.'' We must provide homes and hope for the hundreds of thousands of our veterans who seek shelter and employment every day in America.

John Bouman,

director of advocacy, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Loop

2 Comments:

  • I would like to see some money devoted to studying why veterans become homeless.

    It seems like it would be useful to understand why veterans are overrepresented among the homeless.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 4:32 PM, November 12, 2006  

  • For the same reasons others are homeless, mental and physical illness or both, drug and alcohol addictions that date back to their youth that lead to mental and physical disability, no education, for many a real inability to hold down a job. It becomes their way of life. There are programs inplace for homeless disabled veterans but you cannot force people into rehab or make them adhere to a healthcare, medication regimen.

    By Anonymous sadly, at 11:12 AM, November 14, 2006  

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