Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Gazing into the Crystal Ball

Homeless Honored Around the Country

A couple of weeks back, my wife and I drove into center city Philly for dinner with friends. At the bottom of the exit ramp for Columbus Ave. was a homeless man with a sign - a "will work for food" kind of deal - indicating he was a Vietnam war vet.

My wife pulled $5 out of her purse and asked me to give it to the guy.

Being an old hand at dealing with streetcorner homeless in Philly, I challenged her. "How do you know he's really a vet?"

"Does it matter?" she shot back.

I thought about it for a moment, rolled down the driver's window, and passed him the money.

How many homeless veterans are there?

Although accurate numbers are impossible to come by ... no one keeps national records on homeless veterans ... the VA estimates that more than 299,321 veterans are homeless on any given night. And, more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every four homeless males who is sleeping in a doorway, alley, or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served our country ... now they need America to remember them.

Why are veterans homeless?

In addition to the complex set of factors affecting 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 and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

Statistics and more at National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

How many more (present and future) has Maximum Leader created with his Excellent Iraqi Adventure™?