There’s a lot of talk about what should be done to help our Veterans who have so selflessly given themselves to the service of the United States. Republicans will talk a good game and make-believe they are the ones who actually care about Vets, but in reality, they have voted against Veteran benefits more times than anyone would ever care to count. It wasn’t until the Democrats passed the Post-9/11 GI Bill that we, as a nation, actually started to again look like we care about those who put everything on the line for our nation.
“Opening Doors is the nation’s first comprehensive Federal strategy to prevent and end homelessness. The Plan includes 10 objectives, five themes, and 66 strategies that guide the nation toward accomplishing all four goals of the Plan. Opening Doors serves as a roadmap for coordinated, joint action among the 19 USICH member agencies that make up the Council, along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors.”
And while homelessness, in general, has declined by 11% from 2007 to January 2015 and chronic homelessness by 31%, the most dramatic decrease has been among homeless veterans where “the number of unsheltered homeless veterans across the nation has plummeted by 50% in the past four years.”
In fact, one state has actually eradicated homelessness among Vets altogether — Virginia. In Virginia they have a “housing first” initiative. Which is a “policy that holds that providing homeless people with safe, supportive shelter is a precondition for attending to the issues that caused them to slip through the cracks in the first place.”
One of the key people in making sure Veteran homelessness becomes a thing of the past is Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, who told Mic:
“The biggest factor has been a collaborative effort among the federal government, state governments, local governments and nonprofits to focus on smart policy solutions and invest the resources that are necessary to house homeless veterans.”
And while conservatives love to use the line that giving people help will only promote laziness, Castro explains:
“The evidence is compelling that the reverse is true — that providing housing immediately allows them to take the responsibility of looking or employment and addressing other personal issues that can get them on the right path. It’s tempting to make that argument, but the fact is that investing in folks who are homeless and having some confidence in them has paid off.”
Which is exactly right. Republicans, for all intents and purposes, have it exactly wrong. They want Americans, no matter who they are, to pick themselves up by their (quite literal) boot straps and make it on their own. They don’t seem to realize that by giving people a leg up, by either housing or assistance, they’d be giving them the boost to succeed. Financial assistance and housing doesn’t promote laziness, lack of any hope whatsover promotes laziness. Without hope, really, why bother? President Obama is giving not just homeless Veterans hope, but reaching beyond to homelessness at large.
Republicans don’t care about Veterans, as much as they say they do, their votes prove otherwise. They love war and to send these soldiers off to die for whatever cause they deem worthy (oil), but once they’re home, well, they’d prefer they’d be on their own.
That’s not okay. These citizens offered their lives for their country and it is up to us to make sure they have a roof over their heads, food in their belly, and a bright future ahead. And thanks to President Obama, we are headed towards eradicating Veteran homelessness once and for all.
Featured image: Flickr