Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day - Homeless female veterans

I wish all veterans everywhere, who have had to experience the flawed life that is war, all the best on this Veteran's Day. I have thankful thoughts for all those soldiers, who over the history of our country, have given the greatest sacrifice, for this nation to continue protect its citizenry and help the peoples of the world.

When I was younger I had an argument about why women shouldn't be in the military same as men. I thought women should have equal rights to do whatever they want. I was told that one good reason against women fighting in the military (this from an old war dog Sergeant) was that war is damaging, and when the guys come back, they need a stable half of the country to turn to. That we need to maintain at least a half of the country during war, as a stable immovable object for the nearly irresistible force of returning damaged soldiers to come home to and be healed by. I'm not saying I agree with this theory or not; okay I do a little bit, but not completely. I believe the same is true, but for both men and women. I suppose, if women want to go to war, its their right to choose to do so. I'm just sorry anyone has to.

The other side of that argument is, exactly our current situation, where we now have women being obviously damaged from war, too. Do I want women walking around the country who are just as damaged as men are from war? No. But then, I don't want to see men walking around like that either.

All that being said....

From NPR:
"Over the past decade, the number of female veterans who have become homeless has nearly doubled to roughly 6,500, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Most of them are younger than 35.

That's about 5% of the female military force. That's about 1 in 7 of a force smaller than the male military forces. 1 in 8 of male vets have mental problems. 43% of males of the male vet population are homeless. Mental health cases among war vets grew 58% from 2006 to 2007 (VA records)."

From Old Guard Riders (URLs below):
"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 “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 dependant children,” as is stated in the study “Is Homelessness a Housing Problem?” (Understanding Homelessness: New Policy and Research Perspectives, Fannie Mae Foundation, 1997).

"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."


Having just heard on the radio today that we are 17 trillion dollars in debt now, we simply do not have the money to continue fighting these wars. Unless other nations have an investment and are willing to pay us to be the World's Police Force (wasn't that supposed to be the what the UN eventually does?), and give us cold hard cash, or the comparable powers in barters of some sort; then, we really need to get a hold on our debt.

We need to take care of our soldiers, male and female. When they go to war they should NOT arrive without proper equipment, which keeps happening. When they return, they need help and we need to SEE that they have reestablished themselves as happy and productive citizens, up to the capacity that they will allow us, and perhaps even just a little more. This is not only about our military, but other areas in our economy that need proper address. And we simply do not have the money, we need to stop living on credit and reinvent ourselves.

We also need to pay Teachers a fair wage for what we expect from them and what our country NEEDS for the future. We already know about our Healthcare situation and have to wonder if the new Republicans will set us back in history for the ground we've already achieved; OR, if they will fix it, which is what is needed?

There are a lot of things we do need to do for our civilian citizenry. They should be coming first. But when you choose to send soldiers into horrors, you need to make them a first cause concern. That leaves us with two first causes when there can only be one, at least at this time in history. Hopefully, if we use our brains, we will eventually see our economy at a state where we can afford appropriate priorities.

So what do we do? No, I don't know, I'm asking you. Because I know, someone is out there, who has the answer. They just need to speak up, push it through, see something done to put us on the right track.

Because we cannot, do nothing.

See also, my previous article a few months ago on soldier suicides:
Suicide in the military
See also:
PTSD and Marijuana

Articles used in this commentary:
Old Guard Riders

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