Adapting to a World With Walls

Challenges in Ending Veterans Homelessness

Adapting to a World with WallsOn September 20. 2014, The New York Times featured an article, “Many Veterans Adapt to Strange World, One With Walls.”

The article highlights the success of the federal government’s campaign to end homelessness and points out the challenges ahead to truly end veterans homelessness by 2015.

Art Harmon is just one veteran who has experienced chronic homelessness. He was homeless for 30 years and mostly lived un-sheltered under a highway outside Los Angeles.

“’I couldn’t be around human beings anymore,’ he said. ‘I didn’t feel at home anywhere.’”

Given that veterans make up one-fourth of the homeless population, targeting homeless veterans is significant. Since, 2010, the Obama administration has spent $4 billion, housed 51,000 homeless veterans and shown the success for the Housing First model.

“’Guys that were going by ambulance to the emergency room are now getting preventative care,’” said Vincent Kane, director of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans.

But even with this success, critics in Congress question continued funding targeting homeless veterans and the 50,000 homeless veterans that remain are truly the hardest to reach and serve.

Says Andrea Carter a homeless veteran coordinator with the PATH agency in Los Angeles, “’Some of these guys are really tough,’ she said later. “That’s why this stuff takes so long …’”

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