Homeless vets face social biases

Veterans of the armed services make up about one-third of the adult homeless population.

As statistically significant as the numbers are, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not acknowledge a link between homelessness and armed services.

The VA estimates, ”hellip; about 154,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year.’

The department suggests there is no ‘casual connection’ between being a veteran and homelessness. Instead they say lack of family support and personal characteristics are the real cause.

The fact the homeless tend to be drunks, drug abusers or mentally damaged are the reasons leading to their social status, the department says.
Well, that is a relief.

As long as they were drunks, drug users and crazy before they joined the military, the military has lived up to its obligations to its vets. So, how many drunks, drug abusers and crazies make it through the scrupulous military screening processes?

Yes, their addictions and mental disorders are real, but to deny combat could cause or worsen those problems is a massive disservice to our servicemen and women.

Not to say the military life isn’t fun and exciting, it is, but combat is something many people are ill equipped for.

Some of the scenes they witness are beyond the comprehension of those of us who were never there.

The only way to make it through sometimes is training. Rote maneuvers. No emotion, just reaction. They know the moves like a musician knows his notes. It is needed to do their job. The transition back to society can be a shock.

Reactions in war zones and stateside need to be different. In enemy territory there is always a threat.

Stateside is not a threat. It can be hard to revert back to an acceptable standard after combat. The range of issues these vets could be dealing with is staggering, and it seems too massive an undertaking for even the U.S. government.

They can dig canals through continents, bring down dictatorial regimes and send a man to the moon, but they can’t see a link between combat and homelessness?

It seems criminals have a better time getting court ordered psychological and psychiatric treatment or rehabilitation access than those who did something honorable for this nation.

It is a perversion of American sentiment for our government to appeal to the duty to country of its citizens, while simultaneously failing their responsibilities to those who have already served.

The VA is in the same business as Star of Hope, The Salvation Army, and others. Private organizations work at the grassroots level face to face with the ‘problem’. These non-profit organizations and social workers try to undo some of the damage done by sometimes-useless wars.

These volunteers often sacrifice their own financial well being and hope for advancement to these causes. The sickest irony is the difficulty even those who labor in love face in getting even the smallest state and federal grants.

Abdul Khan is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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