Homeless Veterans


Sometimes so much can be said with so few words.

How about with 29 words:

“Homeless veteran” should be a cultural oxymoron. The mere thought of it is profane. What kind of civil society leaves its defenders on winter streets, even for one night? *

Just 29 little words. What a powerful, poignant message.

Think about it this Veterans Day.


* A November 5, 2011, Letter to the New York Times Editor
by Mark Dowie, Point Reyes Station, Calif., in response to an Oct. 29 article, “Study Finds Slight Decline in Veterans Using Shelters

Photo: Veteran Homeless, courtesy endhomelessness.org

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Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

  • Allen
  • Rcoutme

    I am a disabled veteran (although the disability due to the service is minor). I deplore the way that the country treats its veterans. When I was in basic training, my drill sergeants told us that the army takes care of its own (because the politicians would not). I always donate money to veterans’ causes even though I am currently 100% disabled due to illness. Please give to a REPUTABLE veterans’ charity. My fellow veterans need you.

  • SteveK

    I’m in contact with disabled veterans on a weekly basis and am so proud that, whatever their circumstances, they hold their heads up high.

    On Friday (yesterday) I met a woman, who couldn’t have been 35 but she had served THREE tours of duty in Iraq.

    Her JOB was “female search”… A woman who, after the door was kicked in, would search the females. Two tours went O.K. but she was injured “in the line of duty” four months into her third tour.

    Talk about an “on the front line” person BUT she had such a positive attitude that anyone would have wanted to give her a “good for you” hug.

    Personal opinion: If you (any TMV commenter) have a little free time VOLUNTEER a small portion of it to the VA or any of the affiliated (AmVet, VFW, DAV, etc.) organizations.

    We really need YOU!

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Rcoutme. Thanks for your service and your sacrifice –and I am not saying this perfunctorily –and for your recommendation to give to “a REPUTABLE veterans’ charity.”

    On this, one always needs to use good judgment . Here’s some good advice:

    Check out charities at http://www.charitynavigator.org, http://www.give.org or http://www.guidestar.org. Contact the office that regulates charitable organizations and solicitations in your state; you can find that office by visiting the National Association of State Charity Officials.

    Also check out the American Institute of Philanthropy, http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html, and others.

    And, of course, as SteveK does and recommends: “VOLUNTEER a small portion of [your time] to the VA or any of the affiliated (AmVet, VFW, DAV, etc.) organizations.”

    Thank you Steve

  • Allen

    Dorian-

    Do any of the organizations, that you advocate here, do anything to find homeless vets living under bridges, in crumbling structures, or, out in the woods, etc..?

    Every once in a while the body of a homeless person makes it into the paper, but names are rarely given and vet status is never given. So I must assume records are not kept. Probably because they are not wanted.

    In 1978 I talked with a sheriff in Lassen County California. He told me a sad story about a body found well decomposed in the forest. The man had died many years before and was unrecognizable, but he had a National Defense Service Ribbon pinned to his shirt. They needed to identify him but never could. I always thought it a sad sad thing to let a vet die alone…

    …a complete unknown.

  • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

    People like to drive around with “support our troops” decals, but truth is we don’t support them for jack sh*t. We treat our soldiers and vets like trash.

    One of the key reasons I didn’t support the Iraq war was because I knew we were guaranteeing that hundreds of thousands would be killed, seriously wounded, or PTSD’ed into drug/alcohol abuse and homelessness, and our government (and, by extension, the people) would do nothing to help them. In fact the Right, whose war this was, would actually cut the programs that would help them, or worse: blame them for the state they’re in (“get a job, ya bum!”).

    Shameful.

  • SteveK

    Allen, Barky:

    Part of what you say is true BUT if you have a VA Hospital or facility in your area I recommend you check it out, you can help.

    The Tucson VA Hospital has 800 “active” (key word) volunteers wanting to do nothing more than help… If you’d both join in we’d have 802!

    @Allen: Lassen County is definitely out there but I’ve acreage next door in Siskiyou County and all my neighbors know why they are where they are… It ain’t for access to medical (or any other governmental) services.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    I’m proud to know you all who also reach out to our vets. I’ve a partially disabled vet husband who goes on search and rescue for vets, the time is coming upon us as winter is upon the Rockies now. We find time and again with each new wave of vets that they often do not know their rights, or their benefits. The vets i work with, the issues are many and varied, including bad relationships before they went and worse when they came home, bad health from various dysentaries while deployed, that now grab hold and are resistant to anti-biotics, a brother or sister lost in Iraq or Afghanistan, or earlier in Desert Storm. There are many many many other factors. Dorian and Stevek and others here are on exactly the right track, and rcoutme, hang in there. Your heart is so good. Im rooting for you. I think all on this thread are in your corner. Stevek, i wonder if there is a ‘clearing house’ online for VA/ VFW/ volunteer coordinators. That’s the person one has to reach to find the way in. Once there, you will be warmly received. I know. I do some of the receiving. [smile]. Thanks.

  • SteveK

    Dr. e – I’m not sure if there’s a ‘clearing house’ online for VA/ VFW/ volunteer coordinators but there probably is… Here’s a link to the VA Voluntary Service Home Page it would be a good place to start looking.

    For any who would like to do something for OUR vets… Here’s the VA Volunteer Service application form.

    Edit to add: The Tucson Hospital has a specific office that’s soul job is to get vets the benefits they have earned… I would imagine all VA Hospitals have this service.

  • SteveK

    If you’re a veteran wondering what benefits are available to you, you’d probably be surprised.

    Here’s a good place to start looking: Veterans Benefits Administration

    For Medical Benefits: VA Health Eligibility Home

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Thanks, all, for all those suggestions and kind words.

    Those in the Greater San Antonio area who want to help or visit a Wounded Warrior –especially around Christmas — join “Christmas Hope,” a program created to give Wounded Warriors who are being treated at the Brooks Army Medical Center, and their families, a Christmas they will remember.

    Please go to http://www.sammc.amedd.army.mil/military/wfsc

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Added:

    Also Fisher House: http://www.fisherhouse.org/

  • ShannonLeee

    and it isn’t just veterans…

    we tend to trash many of our heroes…just ask the 9/11 responders how much America cares about them.

    The people in power simply do not care about anyone. Veterans are overhead and we all know where cost cutting always starts.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    One more addition:

    The link, http://www.sammc.amedd.army.mil/military/wfsc,
    takes one to the BAMC site. Here’s a link to a description of the Christmas Hope project.
    http://laketravisview.com/2011/01/03/giving-our-wounded-warriors-a-christmas-of-hope/

    It only gives a mailing address for donations. It is supposed to be sponsored by the Red River Rats Fighter Pilot Association and by the Air Warriors Courage Foundation. Let me check this one out a little more

  • Allen

    I’m impressed by the compassion for vets here. You really can feel the love in your words. Thank you.

    Barkey I know that the Republican Party waves the flag up your arse, then turn you out like a dog when they are finished with your body. Cheaper to bury you anyway. For them, it’s the sooner the better. Accounts payable must be reduced. Damn few of them ever served a day anyway and precious few served in the mud, what do they care?

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Allen says:

    NOVEMBER 5, 2011 AT 5:32 PM (EDIT)

    “I think about it a lot Dorian.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEarDp1_Lw8&feature=related

    Allen, since you are so often just “horsing around,” I didn’t bother to click on the link.

    I have now …

    Thanks and my apologies.

    With our “new” wars and “conflicts,” we all too often forget about the veterans from “that one.”

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    I love that you put up the application link form Stevek, very smart

    and ShannonLee, you are right. My son, spec ops was on the pile, and you are very sadly right re 9-11 first responders. Most pp dont know they came from many many nations to help, and many now struggling with health challenges, including my boy.

    Let us all keep walking together and do what we can. Everything, anything will help. Be seriously blessed. You all just have so heartened us by your interest, enthusiasm and involvement. We often dont know who is pulling for those who are in need. I am so happy to know you are. Seriously happy. There’s a core to people who help others that unites us, despite all else. My experience .02 worth in life, is that Mercy that asks nothing in return is the bridge between our hearts and souls, regardless of any ideology. Thank you. Seriously.

  • EEllis

    I know that the Republican Party waves the flag up your arse, then turn you out like a dog when they are finished with your body. Cheaper to bury you anyway. For them, it’s the sooner the better. Accounts payable must be reduced. Damn few of them ever served a day anyway and precious few served in the mud, what do they care?

    Do you really need this thread to go partisan? I can google fu and shove most of that crap right back where it belongs but why mess up a thread that is focused on not partisanship but veterans. I will say that as a conservative I don’t want govt to do everything. Not for me or anyone else.

    I do however give myself in both time and money to several charities that specialize in veteran affairs, in particular the Wounded warrior project, Texas paralyzed veterans, and the one I enjoy the most is booksforsolders.com

  • Allen

    EEllis- Yeah I bet.

    Dorian, Apologize for what? Hey save it for the kids, I’m ok. It ain’t nothin.

    Dr. E that was very nice. I’ll say a prayer if you don’t mind.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    I am glad ever for people’s good thought for others, by whichever name. thanks Allen. I am glad for putting lights on dark waters.

  • EEllis

    EEllis- Yeah I bet

    OK, I’m done with you troll