January 31, 2014
Formerly Homeless Vets Return to the Streets
There are plenty of reasons why US military veterans are ending up homeless and begging on the streets of cities around the countries. For most who manage to escape the harsh world of the streets they have stopped focusing on the why and now concern themselves with the Obama Administration's pledge to eliminate homelessness in veterans by 2015. David Dyer is one such veteran. He took the Associated Press to the underpass where he would score cocaine and the train depot where he would usually sleep. All that is gone now and in its place; a home, family, and job-helping homeless vets get off the streets. Dyer is part of a team of formerly homeless vets that the state of Massachusets has hired to get veterans off the streets in the Boston area. Employing veterans who had been homeless themselves has proved to be the masterstroke, homeless vets who may have been suspicious of a suited state employee now have someone who was in the exact situation offering them shelter, food, and hope. Although the Federal Government estimated that the homeless rate has dropped by 25% in the past three years, there are still nearly 58,000 that remain on the streets. So many have mental health issues and substance abuse issues that it is difficult to keep them off the streets. Although the program in Boston has shown what can be achieved when Federal and State governments work together and in conjunction with other non-governmental organizations like shelters and churches. Other veterans refuse services because of much more deep seeded issues. Thomas Moore, a 79 year-old Korea vet, explains that he lives on the streets to distract himself from the inner turmoil he faces over feeling responsible for the death of a friend in a firefight in Korea. And though there may be holdouts who refuse the offers of help, there perhaps is no greater healing available to men like David Dyer than to help those whose lives follow so close the pattern of their own.