It was an ambitious goal: Ending veteran homelessness in America. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of homeless veterans dropped by more than 30%, with the number sleeping on the streets dropping by more than 40%. In 2014, the First Lady helped to launch the Mayor’s Challenge, which focused on further ending homelessness completely.
The first city to reach this goal was New Orleans and, in December of 2014, they announced that homeless veterans were no longer an issue in the city. All told, more than nine states, and 850 municipalities strove to attain this goal, but only Virginia and 15 municipalities were successful.
That is not to say that where complete success was not obtained, there was only failure. Surely the lives of many veterans that were living on the street were improved through the efforts of the states and municipalities while they worked to assist our brothers and sisters that served in uniform for their country.
The struggle for the cities is that, in some cases, the availability of low cost housing is less than the number of homeless veterans. This creates problems because, no matter the level of desire by veterans, volunteers or non-profit groups and agencies, if there is no housing available, the problem will never be fixed until there is.
Virginia and New Orleans both approached the solution through a housing-first approach, which strives to individualize the problem and get veterans off the street and into homes before assessing and addressing root causes. These root causes, or underlying reasons for homelessness, can be as diverse as mental illnesses or as simple as drug addictions to identify, but the goal is to provide a stable and safe place to live first.
This concept should be applauded for seeking to recognize the most fundamental aspect of what it means to be human, to be connected to each other, and to care for your fellow brother and sister. This is often people at their lowest points in life receiving help and assistance from their peers, neighbors, city, and state for a better life. While we may not all be in a position to assist directly, we can recognize the power of this process.
Many people express distrust of the government or doubts of their capabilities to run effective programs. Perhaps they are justified in these feelings, considering the amount of fraud, waste, and abuse that seems prevalent in government circles. With that said though, when the government recognizes a failing within its own borders, and dedicates the time, energy, and motivation to correct that, it should be identified as positive steps.
We as a country are often quick to demonstrate and display partisanship through our political discussions. Just as we tend to identify ourselves as coming from a specific state, or having family roots in a specific country, we additionally use political parties to give ourselves further identity. It is therefore important to realize that, in all things big and small, a country which is able to look past partisanship and recognize that we are one nation, indivisible, and that when we work together towards common goals, we achieve greatness.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.