in spite of how far we've come in the Civil Rights Movement that the barriers were still so strong that many of these veterans were not going to get over the obstacles, but now we feel like that might not be so true.”
The Obama administration has placed an emphasis on combating not only homelessness among veterans, but for the U.S. population. Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs has made a pledge to end homelessness by 2015. The federal investment over the past 10 years has driven the number of homeless veterans down from 250,000 in 2004 to about 76,000. By June 30, 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants to suppress the number to 59,000. For the fiscal year 2012, the Department has requested $140 million more than the previous year’s budget.
Members of Congress have recently put forth legislation in the House of Representatives and the Senate to address the problems many current veterans face once they return home from war. Congressman Al Green (D-TX) introduced the Homes for Heroes Act, which would expand the supply of supportive housing for low-income veteran families and extend VA supported housing. This bill was passed by Congress on March 27th. Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) has also introduced the Mandatory Transition Assistance Act, which would require the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to make participation in Transition Assistance Programs mandatory for every branch of service upon discharge.
U.S. Congressman Robert C. Scott, (D-VA) stresses the importance of taking care of veterans.
“We owe it to our veterans to make the investments because they are the ones who have risked their lives for our freedom,” Scott said. “They should have the opportunity to be able to have affordable housing. These are people who risk their lives in a volunteer army for our freedom. The idea that you have veterans who are homeless should really outrage people. These are people who should be honored. We can’t desert them after they’ve risked their lives in service to our nation. We can’t turn around and ignore their plight.”
Chris Williams is an internationally-published journalist that covers topics of politics, race, culture, entertainment and world events. His work has been seen in 200 different newspapers and various magazines. You can follow him on Twitter @CWmsWrites