There is something that has been weighing on my mind for some time now and I believe it needs to be addressed.
I’d like you to consider the following:
Last year, over 500,000 people in the US experienced some form of homelessness, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. 7% of those individuals were veterans.
When someone enlists in any branch of our military, they go through extensive training to defend our country. Yet, when they return, there is no help integrating them back into civilian life. How can they return to their same lifestyle when they are not the same? Returning to civilian life comes with challenges, including finding employment and affordable housing. Typically, military occupations and training are not transferable to the civilian workforce. This makes it difficult to compete for jobs. Some veterans suffer with disabilities such as physical injury or mental illness. It is estimated that 80% of homeless veterans suffer from mental health challenges, substance abuse, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Let’s compare this, to an entirely different population, one that did not fight to make our country a safer place, but rather puts individuals residing here at risk.
The prison population costs the federal and state government, and U.S. families, a combined $182 Billion per year. $12.3 billion of this goes towards the cost of healthcare for inmates. $2.1 billion is spent to feed them. An additional $1.3 billion is spent so prisoners can make telephone calls.
Why is it that someone who admits to killing 95 human beings, is given clothing, food, healthcare and shelter, yet those who fought to defend our country face homelessness? Shouldn’t we be pooling our funds to help those who have helped us, instead of spending money housing those who have sought to destroy us?
I urge you to contact your state governor, your senator, and your state representative and demand change. Our tax dollars spent on housing criminals should be reallocated to support our homeless veteran population. Abandoned bases, healthcare facilities and other properties could be turned into shelters for our veteran population. It’s time to develop a program of institutions at least comparable to what prisoners in our state and federal facilities receive. This would include a place to live, food, medical care, and addiction treatment. Along with amenities of education, career development, television and radio. These things are currently NOT being offered to the homeless throughout the United States.
If not now, then when? Please take action and encourage others to do the same. There is a Way®!