Homeless Veterans, Even One is Too Many
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
By Becca S, Contributor
Every night in America 40,000 veterans are homeless. Our most patriotic citizens who sacrificed so much of their lives for our freedom have been abandoned by our country and left out in the cold. In Texas our numbers are especially high. In Houston alone there are over 3,600 homeless veterans, about 28% of its total homeless population.
While here has been some legislation passed to help our former service members we need to be doing much more to solve this problem in Texas. State initiatives have focused on employment, tax breaks, education, and housing initiatives through HUD and veteran focused loan companies. While these systems have an impact we are far from solving the problem. We need to do more. We need to broaden these programs, especially for those who are are disabled, have mental health issues or are beyond working age.
But legislation can only go so far. Real progress can only be made when we commit to investing in people on the ground who can make contact with these veterans. We need our government to provide funding for one-on-one outreach programs so that we can begin to address the problems they face and offer real lasting solutions.
Among the many hardships our veterans face, hunger can be the worst. Far too many homeless veterans, and even many with stable housing, suffer from ongoing malnutrition and even starvation.
But there is hope.
The VA is teaming up with Feeding America. They offer some successful programs like local hunger screenings and pop-up food banks. One recent project is called the Veterans Pantry Pilot Program. One morning every month they show up at the VA in Austin to provide food for our homeless vets. This program provides a vital source of nutrition for the local homeless veterans population and has had a dramatic positive effect on their quality of life. We need to challenge our state legislators to copy these successful programs and work to improve and expand other initiatives that will benefit our vets.
Legislators who refuse to work toward these positive solutions must be replaced.
We need to vote in compassionate and caring legislators who will work to combat these issues. If we become complacent in elections we not only hurt ourselves, but also those without a voice, and those whose voices aren't being heard.
We must be their voice and we cannot stop until every veteran has a stable place to live and enough to eat.
They fought to protect us and our freedom. This is how we repay that debt.
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