The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Helping Homeless Veterans on Veterans Day

I had two veteran uncles in my family when I was growing up. One is still with us, the veteran of Korea, while the veteran of World War II has gone on ahead to reconnoiter the new heaven and the new earth ahead of the rest of us. I had an ancestor captured during the Civil War who died in an attempt to escape the notorious Andersonville prison. I've known veterans of wars and I honor them today. However, I think we need to turn to some practical expressions of our appreciation today and throughout the year.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, in a rough estimate, over 62,600 veterans of our wars are homeless today. About 13% of the homeless population are veterans of all our wars from World War II on up to the present day. These vets suffer from PTSD, addiction, war-related physical disability and the trauma that goes along with it, a difficult jobs future, high home prices, and the lack of a supportive family safety net. Roughly 1.4 million additional veterans are at risk of becoming homeless in the near future. Does this seem right to you? I didn't think so.

What can we do this Veterans Day to help? Work with local organizations to help homeless and at risk veterans in your neighborhood. Apparently, local community, non-profit, "veterans helping veterans" groups work best, where vets can live in group, transitional housing, with vets who are recovering and having success in returning to a more constructive future. Your "to do" list to help includes contacting your mayor's office to find what organizations are providing help in your community or searching the NCHV database (see below) for that information. Join such an organization in your town and begin working with like-minded people. Participate in homeless veteran coalitions, donate to your local non-profit, and then get a hold of your politicians and ask for more help. For more information, see: http://nchv.org/index.php/news/media/background_and_statistics/ Another source to check today and often is the National Alliance to End Homelessness: http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/veterans2 They have some constructive ideas as well for broad-based policies that will require your help, contacting and recontacting often your politicians to implement. Go to that site as well and see what else you can do.

I can't think of a better way to honor the sacrifices made by the veterans who have laid down their lives and those who returned after defending our freedoms. Wishing you all a reflective and action-oriented Veterans Day.





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