|Posted by projectreachinc on May 27, 2014 at 6:20 PM|
As we celebrate Memorial Day 2014: Remember Bro. Ted Williams, a Army Veteran, who was homeless for 17 years. who became an overnight sensation after the Columbus Dispatch posted a clip of him demonstrating his voiceover skills while begging by the side of the road, is just one example of the plight of homeless and incarcerated veterans. Ted Williams, with the Golden Voice, gained worldwide media attention in January 2011 when a video of Ted being interviewed by the Columbus Dispatch went viral on YouTube.
We at PROJECT R.E.A.C.H. Inc., shared this concern in writing in 2011 with Congress, media outlets and national leaders, as it relates to Homeless and Incarcerated Veterans and the condition of healthcare or lack of. Three years after this writing, we are still faced with a number of untimely deaths of veterans due to poor healthcare and thousands of incarcerated veterans either serving life in prisons/jails -- or long sentences, because of the atrocities surrounding poor healthcare or other social ills.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states the nation's homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly 5 percent being female. The majority of them are single; come from urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. About one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans.
America's homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone. Roughly 56 percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population respectively.
About 1.5 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
Although flawless counts are impossible to come by - the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty - VA estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. Only eight percent of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly one-fifth of the homeless population are veterans.
In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness, extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care, a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.
A top priority for homeless and incarcerated veterans should be, the best healthcare, under "Obama-care" and all healthcare, secure safe and clean housing that offers a supportive environment; free of drugs and alcohol.
Although, most homeless people are single, unaffiliated men. most housing money in existing federal homelessness programs, in contrast, is devoted to helping homeless families or homeless women with dependent children.
Veterans need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing, nutritional meals, basic physical health care, substance abuse care and aftercare, mental health counseling, personal development and empowerment. Additionally, veterans need job assessment, training and placement assistance. Locking them up and in many cases for life is not the answer!
The story of Ted William a veteran, living as a homeless in Ohio should have sent a clear message to President Obama, Congress and all Americans the urgent need to address veteran affairs, including the many that's homeless, on drugs, in need of healthcare and serving time in prison across this country.
This is very personal with me, as I have witnessed the side effects of my Sons who have served in the military and many relatives and friends that's facing the same atrocities as the veterans in this writing, including Bro. Ted Williams a proud veteran and American.
"At no time do we condone wrongness on either side of the wall"
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character that is the goal of true education. - Martin Luther King, Jr. "The Purpose of Education" (1947)