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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Vets on the Street

Here is another one. I wonder who's head is going to roll? The blame game will continue
Hundreds of Iraq Vets Are Homeless
Hundreds of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are ending up homeless. How could this happen?
By Sarah Childress
Updated: 2:41 p.m. ET Feb 24, 2007

Feb. 24, 2007 - Kevin Felty came back from Iraq in 2003 with nowhere to stay, and not enough money to rent an apartment. He and his wife of four years moved in with his sister in Florida, but the couple quickly overstayed their welcome. Jobless and wrestling with what he later learned was posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Felty suddenly found himself scrambling to find a place for himself and his wife, who was six-months pregnant. They found their way to a shelter for homeless veterans, which supported his wife during her pregnancy and helped Felty get counseling and find a job. A year later, he's finally thinking his future. "I don't want to say this is exactly where I want to be—it's really not," he says. "But it's what I can get at the moment."
Young, alienated and often living on their own for the first time, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans increasingly are coming home to find that they don't have one. Already, nearly 200,000 veterans—many from the Vietnam War—sleep on the streets every night, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. But young warriors just back from the Mideast—estimated around 500 to 1,000—are beginning to struggle with homelessness too. Drinking or using drugs to cope with PTSD, they can lose their job and the support of family and friends, and start a downward spiral to the streets. Their tough military mentality can make them less likely to seek help. Advocates say it can take five to eight years for a veteran to exhaust their financial resources and housing options, so they expect the number to rise exponentially in a few years. "Rather than wait for the tsunami, we should be doing something now," says Cheryl Beversdorf, president of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
The problem is mainly a lack of resources, advocates say. There are only about 15,000 beds available in VA-funded shelters or hospitals nationwide, and nearly every one is taken. In some smaller cities there simply aren't many places for a homeless veteran to go. And as affordable housing units shrink nationwide, veterans living on a disability check of, say, $700 a month, (which means a 50-percent disability rating from the VA), are hard-pressed to find a place to live. Most shelters require veterans to participate in a rehabilitation program, but a "fair amount" of veterans just go back to the streets once they leave, says Ed Quill, director of external affairs at Volunteers of America, the nonprofit housing group for veterans that helped Felty.
The VA says it's making a concerted effort to reach out to vets before they hit bottom, says Pete Dougherty, the VA's coordinator for homeless programs. Intake counselors are trained to ask questions, especially of newer veterans, to seek out mental health or other problems that could lead to homelessness. "We're much more sensitive than we were 40 years ago for signs of problems," he says. And they have expanded some services. Last week, the VA approved $24 million to boost aid for the homeless, which will allow them to add about 1,000 more beds and increase the number of grants to help the growing population of homeless women veterans and those with mental illnesses.
Much of the work with new veterans is being done one soldier at a time. At New Directions in Los Angeles, a center that rehabilitates homeless veterans, Anthony Belcher, a formerly homeless Vietnam vet who now works at the center, looks out for one particular Iraq veteran who shows up at the center about once a month, filthy, drugged out and tortured by PTSD. "He's a baby," Belcher says. "You can see it in his eyes." So far, the young vet is too wary to accept more than a night's bed or a hot meal. But as Belcher says, at least he has a place to go. That's more than many of the thousands of vets on America’s streets can say tonight.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 06:03 PM
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I think if one were to list this man's adjectives, "bum" and "loser" would out rank "Iraqi War Vet".

The real Iraqi War vets we need to worry about are children of the hundreds of thousands of people we have butchered.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 07:25 PM
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I do not see why they have NOTHING to come back to. They get a VERY heafty TAX-FREE check while over there. Once home & when they do get discharged, they can collect VA disability compensation(if they are smart enough to file for it). If rated 100% they get almost $2600/month TAX FREE. Especially this guy that is married & has a child on the way.

I know MANY MANY veterans do themselves in BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN DOING. They get used to not having bills, living on base, ect.. Not once thinking to plan for life AFTER the military(not saving money & spending it all on bullshit they do not need).
I have no pity for those whom do not want to help themselves. I could go on & on about those, my brothers whom I tried to help & THEY REFUSED HELP, because they could make more money pan-handling, then they could at an honest job.
Truth be told. MANY of the vets coming out of the war, were some of the recruits that joined "to help protect their country" & didnt have the smarts or financal well-being to begin with. You go in with no skills..learn how to shoot a gun & come out of the military with skills, except for how to shoot a gun. If you joined the military & lived in the ghetto, didnt save you cash & or learn how to be smart with it. Do you expect to come out of the military & live in a mansion(believe it or not most do)? NO. Most likely you will end up back in the same ghetto from which you came, because it is fimilar to you.

If you are wondering. I am a 100% total & permanetly disabled veteran. I grew up in a slum(bridgeton, NJ). I am now living in Panama & have a wonderful life( with the exception of my disabilities). I am by no means extremely intelligent. But have ALOT of street smarts & common sense. I know exactly WHAT NOT TO DO with my cash.
Sadly alot of veterans do not, nor do they want help when they need it the most.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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The question should be why did they not have a transitional program in place to educate the veterans and equip them for civilian life? Things as simple as trade schools would have helped.
Espresso, thanks for your service and I am glad that you did ok but you can't compare your situation to the rest that ended up in this situation. You knew how to handle reponsibility but something failed for these guys. It can't be 100% their faults because there are too many in this situation. The statistics simply support a breakdown in the system.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 08:11 PM
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The V.A. DOES offer a transition program. You register for the classes about 3-4 months before getting out, but you can take the classes whenever you like(doesnt have to be 3-4 months).

The point of the military IS FOR IT to be a trade school of sorts. You learn to do a specific job. Most of which can be crossed over into a civilan job. But, the fact remains. Most in the military go in open general(Instead of picking an AFSC, MOC, ect..) & have NO CLUE to even competently do the job they were trained to do while in the military. They just want to "serve their 4 years" & collect their college money. Sadly it doesnt work like that. They either do no research before hand or just do not care & go by what their recruiter tells them.

I am well aware that not all situations are the same. I volunteered to help disabled & homeless veterans. I can honestly say. They are some of thee most uncoopertive, hatefull asses in the country. Even for veterans that do not file for disability & CLEARLY have a disability. I try to convince them to file. But they just say "No thank you. I like working my regular job & do not want my employer to find out".
I tell them that You NEVER have to tell your employer & even if you do they cannot fire you because of the "Americans with Disabilities Act" They only legal recourse of working IF you are 100% is that the V.A. can stop your payments if they find out you are working. You get paid 100% because to CANNOT work. So you should be. But hell, even at 90% you can hold a full-time job collect about $1700 TAX-FREE & there ya go. But they still want NOTHING to do with it. Out of abotu 800-900 vets I talked with. I can count on both hands the amount of people who actually filed a claim. They WERE homeless, now they are doing wonderful, have full time jobs working for the city & collecting a disability check.
So it pretty much is cut & dry. They CAN be helped. Any homeless vet I have met has a service-connected disability & can prove it(they actually have their records & 214.

NOW, & this is IMPORTANT. You MUST have an Honorable Discharge from the military in order to be eligable for compensation. If they cannot get it because they F***ED up in the military...guess what. That is THEIR fault. But like I said. Almost all of them I met could have been helped in one way or another. But either they "do not want to talk about it" or just plain out do not want help.

I am not saying that it all can be controlled. But this guy Felty, CLEARLY could have been helped & had every right to ask for it. Why he didnt..well they didnt get into that. Maybe he was dishonorably discharged. Who knows..
It isnt the military's fault if you f**k up.
There is SO much that can be talked about here, that it could go on & on. I will gladly give all my knowledge & insight that I learned while dealing with the system.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2007, 11:40 PM
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I thought this was about a convenient new service where Vets would tend to your pets whilst out walking



beware of fundamentalists

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2007, 04:23 AM
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Some of our vets on the street, yesterday:

Bloody posers!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2007, 08:32 AM
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Oh, my bad.
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