Wednesday, July 05, 2006

USA: Veteran Homelessness

Homelessness in America as well as many other western countries continues to be a problem. This is due to the growing economic inequality which is brought about by the current economic system if the right social institutions are not in place. In places like New Orleans homelessness has skyrocketed due to mismanagement and corruption after hurricane Katrina. Many poor residents in large public housing units have been locked out from returning to homes, while many bought mobile homes were left to rot unused instead of actually distributing them to the poor public.

There has been an increase in homelessness in another segment of the population however, Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans. Homelessness in military veterans is not a new phenomena in the United States. The Vietnam war left many vets on the streets to fend for themselves and some still are homeless after sometimes 25 or 30 years. Now with a new generation of veterans a new generation of homeless veterans are popping up. This is not surprising considering if one looks at the way economics plays into military service.

The most obvious reason contributing to veteran homelessness is the slashing of veteran benefits. The Bush administration has created the largest military budget in history, but at the same time cut military personnel's benefits. Its also important to look at unemployment and the use of the military in order to better oneself in life. Many people join the military in order to have some type of job as the number of Americans grow, but the number of American jobs shrink. After being released from the military with decreased benefits it is quite possible that many veterans from poor families will end up on the streets. The other major use of the military is a way to pay for extremely expensive post-secondary education. These individuals are pulled away from actually doing their degree and if also low-income it is possible to become homeless. The other major category are partially disabled veterans who find themselves unable to pay large medical bills and wind up on the street because of it.

Most homeless veterans are from the Vietnam war still, but with the wars still raging and the possibility of further US aggression against Iran, North Korea or, elsewhere the numbers of recent veterans on the streets will only rise. According to the Associated Press there are currently 200,000 homeless veterans on US streets.[1] With statistics like these it shows that the current government is not the one that is pro-military.

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3 Comments:

Blogger sappho said...

This is a horrible truth here in the states.
The US goverment feels that these men & women are good enough to fight their battles & loose life & limb, yet when they come home they are treated badly & not supported whatsoever.
More reason to NEVER join the military & fight in unjust wars, for a military infused in scandals such as rape, murder & corruption.
Great post, many need to be reminded of the goverments treatment of its military after they are USED!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

Yeah its quite sad really.

See my family has a military history, so I feel strongly feel that we need to not judge the military harshless and, we need to actually support the troops. Unfortunately the dominant idea is that supporting the troops comes from the rhetoric of non-dissent for war. When in reality its opposing sending soldiers to die unnecesarily.

8:38 PM  
Blogger betmo said...

this regime touts 'supporting the troops' and yet has continuously cut benefits to the veterens. my question is- why aren't the families of these veterens- and the gung-ho 'stay-the-course' crowd not hollering about this? this is obviously not supporting the troops. because it is easier to slap a magnet on your suv than to actually think about something. that is what truly makes me sad to be an american.

8:42 AM  

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