One thing this site does is generate a fair share of e-mail which I dutifully wade through and answer as quickly as I have the chance to do so – which because I currently have a full plate isn’t always easy.
One e-mail I received yesterday I won’t have to answer. It came from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
To be honest I was caught off guard when I opening my e-mail box and noticed the "return address." I don’t remember having ever signed up on their e-mail list. But then of course, I certainly do not mind receiving e-mail from such a wonderful organization.
But moving along…
The e-mail was to inform me of the upcoming Annual Conference (to be held in Washington D.C.) June 23rd through June 25th of 2008.
One of things that I would like to be in attendance for would be to (quoting the e-mail):
"…feature training sessions on Homeless Court and other legal assistance issues, supportive housing, funding diversification and grant compliance issues. The program includes a public policy briefing for those who make appointments to meet their Senators and U.S. Representatives…"
It also provided me with one of those "For More Information" links which I visited.
One of the most disturbing phrases on the page where contained in the very first paragraph:
"…as we consider the emerging needs of a new homeless veteran demographic."
I’m a bit bothered by that last line because I’m not entirely sure what "new homeless veteran demographic" entails. My biggest concern is that it will turn out that more of our nation’s Veterans are homeless than ever before.
It would bother me tremendously if only one American Veteran were homeless. When you consider however that there are 500,000+ homeless Veterans, you can well imagine my unadulterated disgust with those who create policy – or more accurately who DO NOT create policy – that is meant to help those men and women who have served in this nation’s military but who for whatever reasons now find themselves homeless.
How is it that almost every other nation in the world, those who are part of the military are revered – even when they’ve retired? Yet here in this nation, we seem all too willing to discard our Veterans as though they were a BIC lighter that has run out of butane.
We pat ourselves on the back and talk about being the "…land of the free." Yet, day after day, because of our own selfish motives and desires and through the sin of omission, we continue to keep our nations Veterans prisoner in conditions that are below third world standards.
If Santa Claus were going to check his list to see if we, as a nation, have been naughty or nice based on the way we treat those of our Veteran’s who just happen to be homeless, do you think he’d leave us a nice gift or a stocking full of coal?
It’s my guess that he would just drive his sleigh right by us, just as fast as he could coax Rudolph and the other reindeer to fly!
If any of you are going to be in the Washington D.C. area during the 23rd – 25th of June 2008, I’m challenging you to attend the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ Annual Conference.
Remember that there are literally hundreds of thousands of Honorably Discharged Veterans who although may now find themselves homeless who made a difference…
Now it’s your turn to make a difference.