Homeless vets need better care
Many people are aware of the struggles United States veterans face upon returning from combat. Physical and mental issues are the main topics society focuses on, especially since veterans return with injuries, post-traumatic stress issues and, sometimes, substance abuse problems.
However, one very important fact concerning several generations of veterans, not only those who braved Iraq and Afghanistan, is homelessness.
Some veterans express outrage when seeing a person along a roadway with a cardboard sign that reads “Homeless veteran. Please help.” While some veterans – and, shamefully, even non-veterans – have used this gimmick to receive money from caring strangers, the truth is, many of our veterans are homeless.
We cannot assume that if a veteran is homeless, it is by his or her own doing. Unless we have engaged in battles for our country, we cannot know how war can affect a person’s abilities to function in everyday life. While many of our veterans have returned and become well-adjusted civilians, even they will tell you their experiences can break a person physically, mentally and spiritually.
Louisiana veterans are not exempt from homelessness, either. According to a 2010 Veterans Annual Homeless Assessment Report, 0.64 percent of all vets in the state were homeless and represented 16.1 percent of the state’s homeless population.
Thursday, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it was giving $1 million to a Monroe nonprofit, Wellspring Alliance for Families, Inc., that helps homeless veterans in the northeastern part of the state.
While the funds are heading to Wellspring, let’s pray that homeless veterans in Southwest Louisiana find a way into one of the 12 parishes served in hopes that they can begin rebuilding their lives. Homelessness certainly is an issue in American society but the people who fought to uphold our freedom should never have to worry about shelter.
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