Thursday, April 26, 2012

AHA-1 in 4 Homeless are Veterans

When you see a homeless person on the street, what is are your initial thoughts? Do you see the tattered clothes, perhaps dirty faces and weathered signs reading "Homeless Veteran, please help. God Bless" and think, oh they are just trying to get money or food for free? Do you stop and consider what these people may have been through before making a judgment?

Today, we learned about the veterans in America who are homeless. Veterans have fought hard to keep our country safe and secure, yet many of them are without homes, because they are injured and cannot work or keep jobs to pay for housing. We watched a video about a homeless veteran, and it was very sad to watch a grown man who has worked so hard, go without. The group presenters showed us different organizations connected with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and among these organizations, there are many places to help homeless veterans. I learned that 1 in 4 homeless persons are veterans, and this is a very sad statistic. Being those who have worked hard to protect our home, the United States of America, shouldn't ALL veterans be guaranteed a safe and comfortable home?

I decided to research the Veteran Justice Outreach Initiative, a program that helps to eliminate the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans. The program will do this by ensuring that Veterans who struggle with mental illness or substance abuse are given adequate medical attention and services before they are released. A lot of individuals who have fought in wars suffer from mental illnesses, especially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It makes me very sad to think that some Veterans end up homeless because they needed more recovery and rehabilitation time, and are not given it. The VJO helps ensure that these Veterans get the time and access they need to services, so they have a better chance of re-incorporating themselves into society. My poster includes the organization's name (Veteran Justice Outreach Initiative), the three things that it sets out to do (in white), as well as contact information for the two program directors. I also included the url, in case readers want to visit the VJO site.

This organization will help Veterans by extending extra medical attention and care to those who need mental health services. I think that knowing about it will also help change our perceptions about homeless Veterans. This poster is a visual that was created to spread awareness about a program that is helping homeless Veterans around the United States. I hope that others will reconsider what they think when they see these homeless individuals, because they are not just "some bums" looking for easy money. They fought for us. Now let's fight for them.

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