Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Forgetting the purpose of the Veterans home, does not help Veterans.

Why are we here? Does any one know? I think I do. Because I looked it up on the internet.

Why is the Veterans home here? Because too many wounded Civil war veterans were ending up in poor houses, with substandard living conditions.  For this reason, Michigan government created the veterans home.

Now, over 100 years later, its first and foremost reason for existing is to provide a place to live for veterans so they do not have to live in the street. But alas, this place as lost its focus on why it exists and what its functions are.

It is not easy moving guys around, from wheel chairs to beds, from wheel chairs to showers, to baths, or what ever. Some of these guys weigh over 300 pounds, due to lack of exercise and poor diet. Or maybe its due to their medical issues.

The administration of the Veterans Home seems to have forgotten that this is a HOME for veterans. They call it a hospital, but it is a bit of both. Mainly a home with its own medical staff. These guys want to spend their last days living nicely and not in some ditch along the road.

The Dom unit over in Rankin building was established to give guys who needed it a "time out" from life's tribulations. A chance for them to take a step back, relax, get their thoughts together and such, and then move on; in other words move out and rejoin society. But the State and the Administration both seem to have forgotten that part. It seems that once you are here, you are stuck here.

Case in point: A Dom Unit member is classified as a homeless vet. Many have no income. Circumstances change as time goes by and a member may find themselves able to return to society - with a little help from government.

If the person is disabled, they can get social security disability. Or if they qualify, they can get a service related disability. If Not, and they are part of a specific group, they might be able to get a non service related pension if they are not cold war veterans. If they cannot do this, they are stuck here.

The state issues "housing vouchers" to help people get into rent controlled housing, or 'section 8" housing.
One must be homeless to qualify for a voucher, yet the state has determined that a veteran with no income, staying at the veterans home, does not qualify as a "homeless" person because they have a bed to sleep in at the home. With housing vouchers and food stamps, a veteran may be able to leave the home, and return to society, thus costing taxpayers less. Keeping them here, costs the government 3 to 4 thousand dollars a month, way more than allowing them to return to society.  So you have 2 programs that are at odds with each other.

And getting that veteran who has lost everything back on their feet, seems to have been forgotten. The veteran is going to need Clothing, food prep items such as pots and pans, cooking utensils,, Dining ware - plates, silverware and the like. They will need a bed, dresser and other such furniture.. But there is no help for a veteran to get that. Only places to go. No transportation help to transport items if they are able to obtain them from a source. I mean, you can only carry so much on a city bus. And no information is available for this. So a veteran gives up and stays here, when they could be living cheaper in society. And while they are here, they give up the idea of returning to being a productive member of the community.

This is not good, no matter how you look at it.

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