Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

Homeless Veterans Still Need Help


Last updated 9/20/2022 at 2:14pm | View PDF

Right about now the weather is cooling off. Or, if it hasn't, it soon will. Before we know it, hard winter will be upon us. As of this year, there are 38,000 homeless veterans who will be living outside in that weather.

Homeless people make up 7% of the population, but 13% of the homeless population are veterans. Over half have a disability. Nearly three-quarters have substance abuse problems. Fully half are over the age of 50. Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

Despite all the programs the Department of Veterans Affairs has come up with to reduce veteran homelessness, our comrades are still out there by the thousands. Large dollars are budgeted for this, grants handed out to community homeless advocacy groups, studies done, numbers arranged in neat columns on printouts, meetings held -- and the numbers just don't go down an appreciable amount. In fact, the point-in-time (PIT) count numbers (every homeless veteran counted in a single day) for the past several years have been inching upward, despite all the efforts to manage the problem.

We, on either an individual or group basis, need to step up.

Start by making calls. Call Voluntary Services at the closest VA hospital and ask what they need. Hook up with the CEC (community employment coordinator) at the hospital and offer your help. Work at a Stand Down. Sign up to drive veterans to medical appointments and job interviews.

On a smaller level, band with others and prepare to open your wallets just a little bit. Remember: While what we do might seem negligible in the whole range of efforts, it won't be a small thing for the veteran who gets a thick winter coat, some dry socks, a ride to the VA clinic or your skills in drafting up a resume.

Keep this number handy: National Call Center for Homeless Veterans 877-424-3838. They answer 24/7 and have help for homeless veterans or those who are in danger of becoming homeless.

(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.


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