Homeless Heroes: Veterans Struggles

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Like a recent tragic event in Iraq brought out a number of reports on PTSD around the country there have also been a number of other reports as well that focussed on the homeless veterans, the first one just below is in and around this Nations Capital:

Homeless War Veterans Abound in D.C. Region

A new report is giving sobering statistics about how homeless veterans are treated in the Washington area.

The report says beds are available for only 10% of the homeless vets in Virginia, 8% have beds in Maryland and in the District, there is room is less than 2%.

From the Iraq War with the Army’s First Calvary Division to fighting a battle to find homes for fellow veterans, Chad Lego says he never imagined when he came home, he would find some 200,000 service members homeless. >>>>>More

Last week there was a two part series, the first reporting on a brother ‘Nam Vet who has been homeless for pretty much the whole time since ‘Nam, but now seeking and getting the help needed. The second is of a much younger Vet from these most recent Wars and Occupations who came back confused and disoreinted and ended up homeless and drifting, he also is seeking and getting the help needed now.

Veterans’ Struggles, Part One

The issue of homelessness has garnered much attention in the metro recently, following a fire at homeless camp along the Des Moines river. While it is no secret many of the homeless people living in tents and so-called hooches are veterans, we don’t often examine the question of ‘why’. >>>>>More

Part 1 Video

Homeless Heroes: Veterans’ Struggles, Part Two

In Part One, we introduced you to a Vietnam veteran who has spent the last four decades battling to get his life on track. In Part Two of our series on homeless veterans, a veteran of recent combat in the Middle East shares his story of the struggle to save himself from an all too-common fate.

For the better part of 40 years, following two tours in Vietnam, Paul Lizotte found himself homeless, jobless, and angry at the country he volunteered to serve. Now, at age 57, he’s slowly getting his life back together, but fears for the next generation of soldiers — those returning from the Middle East.

“They’re going to have a pack of troubles, because their war is a whole lot different than ours. Vietnam was a guerilla warfare. Theirs is an urban warfare. They’re going to come back here, be amongst buildings that they’re used to getting sniper fire from, rocket attacks from,” he says.

More than three decades separate the two wars, but the struggle of returning to civilian life is the same now as it was then. “They’re going to have to learn how to deal with it. I hope they don’t choose my road, of going for the loner,” Paul says. >>>>>More

Part 2 Video

Jan Barry, another ‘Nam brother, and a writer which I’m not, had a recent entry Home for Veterans in his newsletter that he also posted on a few of these online interactive blogs as well.

Coming home for some war veterans means slipping off the track of chasing a fading American dream. Despite the yellow ribbons of support for the troops festooning patriotic front yards and backs of cars, there’s an army of homeless former soldiers seeking shelter in cities and towns across this country. Compounding the shock of becoming homeless can be another bitter discovery: Few communities provide programs to help veterans who hit a rough patch get back on their feet. Consequently, an estimated 154,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

At the bottom of Jan’s post he gives a few URLs:

This one speaks for itself National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

These next two are of a local action being taken on to give housing to some local Vets in New Jersey Highland Park agrees to convert shuttered church to homeless veteran housing, and this one as well,  Pastor Seeks to House Veterans in Old Church

And more grassroots help out of Arizona:

Vet center offers support resources for homeless

A grassroots effort to help homeless veterans is making some real progress, the Madison Street Veterans Association is a group started by veterans for veterans.

“We’ve got a big sheet cake coming, it says congratulations Madison Street Veterans Association, it’s red, white and blue,” Terry Araman says country loyalty is important to this grassroots group, “we feel that Veterans, whether they’re homeless or not, whether they’ve gone through PTSD or not, have a lot to offer the community,”

Terry Araman along with others at the Madison Street Veterans Association are working to help military vets like Richard Chamberlain who was recently laid off and is now studying Quantum Mechanics. >>>>>More

Than we have another moving writeup from a present combat vet Paul Rieckhoff of IAVA – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America who wrote this op ed piece Homeless Heroes

The next generation of American Veterans is on its way home. Over 1.3 million American troops have already served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and tens of thousands more will return from combat over the years to come. After these young men and women put away their uniforms, they will still be coping with the consequences of years spent at war. When these conflicts have faded from the headlines, will we, as Americans, continue to honor our yellow-ribbon commitment to “Support the Troops”? Already there are many disturbing signs that we are not prepared to meet that obligation. >>>>>More

A short note to Paul, and our younger brothers and sisters of these present, that should not have been, occupations. Please choose your words respectfully when mentioning us old foggies now, ‘Nam Vets, but not only of that occupation, but of all those vets, conflict or peace time, that came before you. You’ll want those coming after you to do the same.

Paul I’m sure will know what I mean, there are some really ruffled feathers in the ‘Nam Vet community this past week, most of us got riled than let it pass as we have all the rest over these many years, actually your few words have been said many times and are even used today, mostly by the ‘chickenhawks’ who try and cut those of us of ‘Nam but not Hawks down, they loose everytime..

Another thing to keep in mind, all that’s been happening to those returning these recent years is not new, we Vets and this Country have seen it all before and through these years since. By Country I mean the few who actually pay attention, like those that have joined us in the fight to push better understanding of PTSD and TBI. We’ve been fighting the battles now for over thirty years, we’re right there with you all as you continue these battles, and now maybe we can get them in a real ‘Victory’ a ‘Victory’ for this country, and world, that really counts.

Us big brothers and sisters would appreciate it!


  1. …the way we treat our veterans.  Many times our warriors have glimpsed the reality behind the curtained illusion of “Our American Dream.”  Many times they have seen the truth, seen that war is a sham, not the way to solve a problem, but to be avoided.  It is not something to be engaged in to save face, or out of vanity, or some other LBJ-MacNamara fantasy.  

    We’ve been fighting the battles now for over thirty years, we’re right there with you all as you continue these battles, and now maybe we can get them in a real ‘Victory’ a ‘Victory’ for this country, and world, that really counts.

    I do think the psychic “trauma of war” goes back much farther than 30 or 40 years.  I know WWII and Korean vets who suffered these traumas.  I think it goes way, way back.  

    The more the human species grows in consciousness, awareness, and the evolutionary need for compassion, the more the curtain will be pulled aside to present another way of being and doing.

    Thanks, jimstaro.  To me, this is one of your best posts.

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