There are many in the community who do not like homeless people. Much of this has to do with myths and misconceptions about those struggling with housing. There are two populations which get near universal support: kids and vets. Homeless children are innocent and did not ask to be without housing. They are often the victim of their parents bad decisions or problems revolving around the inability for the parent to find a job or maintain housing. Veterans are viewed by most as the "deserving poor" because they served their country, and often have problems associated with the trauma or personal demons from combat. Despite all those who want to help, it is amazing how much they have to deal with to get assistance in the community. It is no one person's fault, but the system is just so complicated.
They must have the right kind of discharge to receive some help, and that is typically the first question agencies ask, "what kind of discharge did you have?" Some places will only provide service to an individual based on the number of months they were in the military. If they get injured after two months, they only qualify for two months of assistance which makes no sense. The wait for disablity help is about 2 years at this point, which is just criminal. Everyone is asking for forms to be filled out and they all ask for the same information over and over again. They all do the same verifications and searches and checking the story and then double checking. The vets have to deal with government agencies, private charities, and publicly funded charities. They have so many people who want to help, but everyone needs something else from the veteran. They ask for social security, discharge papers, or specifics of the veteran's service. They ask for identification, medical screenings, a history of their housing, a resume, family contacts, dependents, tax forms, court proceedings, birth records, and service related health problems.
It would seem so simple. The individual serves their country for 2 or 4 or 6 years, and may or may not spill their blood in a foreign land. They need on-going medical help and especially counseling help to ease back into civilian life. They need a job and some assurance that they will have a place to live while they re-establish life states side. It would seem that with all the people and organizations willing to help this would not be hard to provide the help needed to a small segment of the population. It has become so complicated. Not only do you have the new people everyday entering the system facing the nightmare of paperwork, but there are thousands of wounded warriors from previous conflicts. There are many who were discouraged by the failure of the system from decades ago who still need help.
There was a veteran summit last week to try to weed through some of the issues faced by veterans. It is hoped that the new central resource center for veterans at 7000 Euclid Ave. will help vets cut through the red tape to find stability. There is a nice article on the front of the new Street Chronicle about the center. The facility stays open late and the staff there will work to find help for any veteran in our community. We also have put together a two page document for homeless veterans to use. The Veteran Street Card attempts to put all the resources available on one page that a vet can use while they seek help
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