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Top Organizations for Homeless American Veterans

The military members that served our country with honor and distinction are worthy of our respect, gratitude, and aid.  Many American veterans do get aid and G.I. Bill provisions following completion of service.  However, there are also a number of veterans who suffer from disabilities or detriments related to their military service that can cause them to become homeless.

There are almost 50,000 homeless American vets on any given night and 20 percent of the male homeless population are veterans.  Half of the homeless vets are over the age of 50.

Some suffer illness or injury in the course of their military duties.  Others are affected by issues related to coping with military service, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD.  Those that go untreated for one reason or another may suffer all kinds of hardship, including extremes like poverty and homelessness.

Veterans facing such dire circumstances may need help to recover and get back on their feet.  There are several well respected organizations that offer such assistance.  Here are a few that veterans and their family members should be aware of.

AMVETS

The American Veterans National Service Foundation, more commonly known as AMVETS, is a group that is dedicated to helping veterans reintegrate in society following military service, as well as claim any and all American veterans aid and other benefits they’re due.  Although AMVETS is not a non-profit organization (they take in proceeds and pay taxes), the lion’s share of the money they collect goes to help veterans, for whom the group provides free services.

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV)

This non-profit charity group not only advocates for increased federal funding for programs offering assistance to homeless veterans, but they also work to provide food, emergency housing, health services, job training and placement services, and legal aid to homeless veterans.

NCHV notably offers assistance to thousands of homeless veterans annually and strives to increase services and support for veterans through advocacy and information sharing.

Operation Homefront

This laudable organization caters specifically to veterans and their families facing extreme economic hardship and poverty following military service.  Whether veterans are ill, injured, or otherwise unable to meet financial obligations, Operation Homefront can provide emergency financial assistance, food, health benefits, support groups, and in some cases transitional housing until such time as VA benefits kick in.

Hire Heroes

Some veterans transition seamlessly back into civilian life following their military service.  Others may have trouble re-acclimating, especially when it comes to finding a job.

The overarching goal of the Hire Heroes organization is to help veterans find gainful employment.  They do this by offering workshops and individual assistance for drafting resumes, interviewing, and learning how to market oneself to prospective employers.  They also offer a job board and work to build partnerships with companies interested in hiring veterans.

Not every veteran is able to work following military service, but those that are may need a hand when it comes to getting hired.  For vets that have fallen on hard times due to a lack of gainful employment, Hire Heroes could make a world of difference.

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Why American Veterans Should Get Better Care

There’s no denying the benefits our nation gains from the outstanding service provided by members of the military.  American Veterans are brave and heroic – and these soldiers put their lives on the line to defend the lives of their fellow citizens.  They protect the freedoms we often take for granted, and uphold the principles and laws that govern us and make our nation unique.

Most veterans are quick to downplay their contributions to society, but make no mistake, these humble individuals are far from ordinary.  They take on a job that most people would never dream of accepting and they should be compensated accordingly with American veteran’s aid, health services, and other benefits befitting their service and valor.

Military members volunteer for service, knowing that they are putting their lives on hold, accepting a potentially dangerous challenge, and even risking accident, injury, illness, or death in the process.  Their sacrifices allow the rest of the nation to go about life with security and peace of mind.

When veterans are discharged or retired from military service, they are promised certain benefits, including American veterans aid like VA healthcare services, along with provisions detailed in the G.I. Bill, just for example.  However, some veterans slip through the cracks or are unable to take advantage of the benefits they should rightly receive.

What is our obligation as a nation?  Do we have a moral, ethical, and/or legal responsibility to offer American veterans aid following their military service?  Although the course of action seems clear, there is still debate about how far the nation should go when it comes to caring for veterans.  Like most things in a capitalistic society, the debate often centers on funding.

These people deserve more than our thanks – they deserve ongoing care and consideration.  Here are a few important reasons why we, as a nation, should do more for our vets.

They are People and worth the Financial Commitment

Soldiers may be assets, but they deserve greater regard than a tank or a plane.  Consider the amount of military equipment that sits in storage for years or decades, unused but costing our nation money nonetheless.  How can we justify this expense while denying needed benefits to deserving veterans?

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), the Presidential administration declared that all of America’s citizens deserve access to affordable healthcare.  Why?  As people we should enjoy certain inalienable rights, including the ability to receive care when we’re ill or injured, whether we are in a position to pay for it or not.

The same basic attitude applies to members of the military.  Just because they have completed their service to our country doesn’t mean we can discard them.  Military service can result in disability and other issues that make it difficult for soldiers to re-acclimate to civilian life.  These people deserve the utmost regard for their service and our nation should reciprocate in tangible ways that benefit the lives of our veterans.

They Have Value

Veterans are not only highly trained individuals, but they also have proven qualities that speak to their value in society.  Service members are prized for their loyalty, honor, and selflessness.

These traits make them ideal employees and valuable members of society.  So why are so many veterans dealing with poverty, an inability to find work, and even homeless?

We can do more.  There are organizations designed to help veterans find jobs, recover from illness or injury, find housing, and get back on their feet.  As a nation, it is our duty to make sure these groups receive the funding needed (through private donations or federal contributions) to continue providing American veterans aid to those in need.

They Have Families

Just because military members serve their country of their own free will doesn’t mean they’re the only ones affected by the decision to do so.  Soldier have families, including parents, siblings, spouses, and children that are also impacted by their decision to serve.

How can spouses cope when they have to care for a wounded veteran in addition to working and raising children?  What if soldiers return from service with complications like depression or PTSD?

American veterans and their families may need help dealing with the after effects of military service, and as a nation, we should provide special consideration for the unique challenges these families face due to the sacrifices made by veterans in the course of their service.

 

 

 

 

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Helping American Veterans in Tampa Bay

 

American Veterans aid is often not easy to find. US Vets in the Tampa Bay area cab get help form HEP – a program that helps the homeless.  They also offer other services to assist vets with their issues.

We applaud their commitment to helping veterans in the area. HEP’s goal is to break the cycle of homelessness and be the last homeless shelter an individual or family ever has to access.

Serving American Veterans

Nearly 1/3 of HEP’s population consists of American Veterans who need aid.  That’s aboout the same percentage of the national homeless population of US Vets. Recognizing that honelss veterans require specialized care, HEP works hand in hand with the Veterans Administration to provide specific programs to help them become self-sufficient again.

HEP houses veterans in two apartment complexes on their campus: Fairburn Apartments for men, and HEP West Apartments for men and women. HEP also reserves bed-space in our other shelter offerings, especially for vets.

If you are an American Veteran in the Tampa Bay area in need of help, visit their website for more information  https://www.hepempowers.org

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The Top 10 American Veterans Aid Complaints

When you think about our veterans I bet you are not thinking in the millions, but according to the Census Bureau there are 19.3 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces. 2.2 million troops have been deployed just in Iraq and Afghanistan.  44% of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan reported difficulties upon returning home.

That’s an awful lot of people who stepped up, put their lives on the line and helped to protect our freedoms.  Yet when they come back home they often have a hard time getting help in return. Here are the top 25 complaints American veterans need help with:

  1. Unemployment – although the rate is down to 4.5% this is still a major complaint for the unemployed veterans.  Resource: https://www.hireheroesusa.org/
  1. Traumatic Wounds – our current veterans have to deal with the after effects of wounds that service men and women of earlier wars did not have. Resource: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org
  1. PTSD – 1 in 5 American veterans suffer from PTSD. Only half of them seek treatment and only half of those who do go for treatment get “minimally adequate” help (RAND study.)  Recent recent has revealed that the go-to treatments, such as psycho-therapy, may not be as effective as hoped. (Journal of the American Medical Association)   Resource:  Alternative therapies are being used to treat PTSD.  Try Yoga, QiGong and Meditation
  1. Suicide – 22 veterans take their own lives every day. This is a sad testament to the lack of help and the ineffective treatment veterans receive.  Resource: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
  1. Domestic Violence – male veterans who spent time in combat were more than four times as likely as other men to engage in domestic violence. Resources:  http://www.thehotline.org/ http://www.militaryonesource.mil/
  1. Alcohol & Drug Addiction – 7.4% (1.4 million) American veterans have a substance abuse problem.  Resource:  http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/307
  1. Homelessness – 8.6% of our veterans are on the streets. That’s more than 1.5 million homeless veterans. Resource: http://nchv.org/index.php/help/help/immediate_help/
  1. A backlog of claims at the VA – This is a common complaint for the more than one million American veterans who are waiting for their claims to be processed. Resource: https://www.vawatchdog.org/
  1. Inadequate care – Another complaint is that the response from Federal agencies is slow and has not matched the magnitude of the veterans’ requirements.  There are programs that can help older veterans.  Resource: http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp
  1. Access to aid and care as they grow older – 9.3 million American veterans are now over 65.  As they age they get more problems and difficulties. Many of these older veterans don’t know that they are eligible for the Aid & Attendance benefit.  Resource:  http://www.americanveteransaid.com

 

 

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