[Hpn] Homeless vets reveal a hidden cost of war

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:53:03 -0500


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Homeless vets reveal a hidden cost of war
http://www.veteransforamerica.org/2008/01/18/homeless-vets-reveal-a-hidde=
n-cost-of-war/

by VFA on Jan 18, 2008
Capt. James Key, USA Today

I was walking out of a grocery store recently when a homeless man =
approached me and said, "Excuse me sir, I'm trying to buy some food. Can =
you help me out?" After talking to him for a few minutes, I discovered =
that he was a Vietnam War veteran. I gave him a few dollars knowing that =
my humble contribution might help him eat today. But what about =
tomorrow?

As I drove home, I thought about this man and the countless other =
homeless veterans who walk our nation's streets looking for a crust of =
bread and a corner to sleep in.

Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the USA, though they are =
only 11% of the general population, according to The Alliance to End =
Homelessness. There are myriad reasons for these dismal numbers: limited =
access to affordable housing, inadequate health care and employment =
instability. But many cases are fed by the fact that displaced and =
at-risk veterans often live with the lingering effects of post-traumatic =
stress disorder or substance abuse. These are the hidden costs of =
fighting a war.

Further, the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) reaches only 25% of an =
estimated 400,000 veterans who are homeless at some time during the =
year, leaving the rest to seek aid from local government agencies and =
community service organizations.

Homelessness is spreading beyond the middle-age and elderly veterans to =
include those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA has =
identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and reports =
that just 400 have participated in its homeless programs. Today, the VA =
offers more service options - outpatient facilities, counselors and =
therapy - than for troops who returned from Vietnam. Unfortunately, many =
veterans don't seek help for mental and emotional problems until years =
after their return from combat, when the conditions have often worsened.

My father, James Key Sr., worked as a VA counselor. As a teenager, I =
didn't put much stock in his work, but now that I'm in the military, I =
have a deeper appreciation for his profession. My father gave many =
homeless Vietnam War veterans in Los Angeles a second chance. But the VA =
can't shoulder this burden on its own.

Today, more help is needed from people like you and me taking ownership =
of this problem. Donations of food, clothing or money to homeless =
shelters can make an immense difference. Volunteers are always needed as =
well. The website of the non-profit National Coalition for Homeless =
Veterans, for one, lists organizations nationwide.

It's been said that the best way to judge a nation is to measure how it =
takes care of its old and young. Maybe we should add homeless veterans =
to the list as well.

Capt. James Key is a chaplain in the U.S. Army at Fort Irwin, Calif.








William Charles Tinker, Sr.
New Hampshire Homeless=20
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street=20
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.=20
1-603-286-2492=20
http://www.missingkids.com=20
http://www.nationalhomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com 
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<DIV>
<H2>Homeless vets reveal a hidden cost of war</H2>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.veteransforamerica.org/2008/01/18/homeless-vets-reveal=
-a-hidden-cost-of-war/">http://www.veteransforamerica.org/2008/01/18/home=
less-vets-reveal-a-hidden-cost-of-war/</A></FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dmeta>by VFA on Jan 18, 2008</DIV>
<P>Capt. James Key, <A=20
href=3D"http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/01/homeless-vets-r.html#more"=
><FONT=20
color=3D#b3160d>USA Today</FONT></A></P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>I was walking out of a grocery store recently when =
a homeless=20
man approached me and said, =93Excuse me sir, I=92m trying to buy some =
food. Can you=20
help me out?=94 After talking to him for a few minutes, I discovered =
that he was a=20
Vietnam War veteran. I gave him a few dollars knowing that my humble=20
contribution might help him eat today. But what about tomorrow?</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>As I drove home, I thought about this man and the =
countless=20
other homeless veterans who walk our nation=92s streets looking for a =
crust of=20
bread and a corner to sleep in.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the =
USA,=20
though they are only 11% of the general population, according to The =
Alliance to=20
End Homelessness. There are myriad reasons for these dismal numbers: =
limited=20
access to affordable housing, inadequate health care and employment =
instability.=20
But many cases are fed by the fact that displaced and at-risk veterans =
often=20
live with the lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder or =
substance=20
abuse. These are the hidden costs of fighting a war.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal><SPAN id=3Dmore-508></SPAN>Further, the Veterans =
Affairs=20
Department (VA) reaches only 25% of an estimated 400,000 veterans who =
are=20
homeless at some time during the year, leaving the rest to seek aid from =
local=20
government agencies and community service organizations.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>Homelessness is spreading beyond the middle-age and =
elderly=20
veterans to include those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The =
VA has=20
identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and reports =
that just=20
400 have participated in its homeless programs. Today, the VA offers =
more=20
service options =97 outpatient facilities, counselors and therapy =97 =
than for=20
troops who returned from Vietnam. Unfortunately, many veterans don=92t =
seek help=20
for mental and emotional problems until years after their return from =
combat,=20
when the conditions have often worsened.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>My father, James Key Sr., worked as a VA counselor. =
As a=20
teenager, I didn=92t put much stock in his work, but now that I=92m in =
the military,=20
I have a deeper appreciation for his profession. My father gave many =
homeless=20
Vietnam War veterans in Los Angeles a second chance. But the VA can=92t =
shoulder=20
this burden on its own.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>Today, more help is needed from people like you and =
me taking=20
ownership of this problem. Donations of food, clothing or money to =
homeless=20
shelters can make an immense difference. Volunteers are always needed as =
well.=20
The website of the non-profit National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, =
for one,=20
lists organizations nationwide.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>It=92s been said that the best way to judge a =
nation is to=20
measure how it takes care of its old and young. Maybe we should add =
homeless=20
veterans to the list as well.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>Capt. James Key is a chaplain in the U.S. Army at =
Fort Irwin,=20
Calif.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal>&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><BR>William Charles Tinker, Sr.<BR>New =
Hampshire=20
Homeless <BR>Founded 11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street <BR>Northfield,N.H.=20
03276-1640 USA <BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human =
rights.=20
<BR>1-603-286-2492 <BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A> =
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">http://www.=
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com</A>=20
</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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