Friday, November 23, 2012

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, eliminating the Dormitory unit?

I remind people that the very existence of the Michigan Home for Veterans, located in Grand Rapids Michigan, was the result of the state being ashamed that so many Civil war veterans were living in poverty in flop houses and in the street. So the state gave these honored hero's some place to go. Yet today we still have veterans forced to live in some of the "modern day" flop houses, like the ones downtown on Division, which are ran by charity organizations like the Mel Trotter Missions, and Goodwill.. Call it what you want, a flop house is a flop house.

The current Michigan home for veterans doesn't have that same idea driving it that caused its original creation. Instead it appears the current home thinks its a privilege for the men and women who put on the uniform of this country, those who put their lives on the line for this country, to be able to go and stay at the veterans home even when many of them pay for it. And those who are 100 percent service connected disabled? The state gets paid by the Federal government to house and care for the Veterans. So that is not a privilege at all.

But the Dormitory unit, now that has become a horse of a different color. The Dorm unit has changed over the years. And in the last 5 many many changes have occurred. The 2 or 3 counselors whose job we still do not know, used to be able to have veterans discharged for being abusive, for behavior problems, or for rule violations. That power was taken from them, and they are pretty much useless now. - But they are still costing taxpayers over 150,000 tax dollars per year in costs to keep them in that job!  I know that 2 of them basically just walk around the place, and are seen taking breaks every day but other than that, none of the veterans seem to know what they do anymore.

Usually about this time of year when the weather turns cold, they start filling in the place, pulling veterans off the street.. At one time there was over 200 veterans there on the dorm unit, which is the top 2 floors of the Rankin building. Last count there were about 50.

Maybe they are going to shut down part of the Dorm unit without telling the Board of Managers, the way  (according to local media reports on Channel 8 and 17), they shut down the 4th floor in the Mann building?
They said that was for renovating.. yet a year later nothing has been done to it.

Several veterans have expressed their concern that they think the dorm unit is being shut down, as part of the states continual effort to save money and trim the budget.   And many of those guys are there because they have nothing left, are homeless and penniless, (the very reason the home for veterans was created in the first place), due to the continual on going economic recession that Michigan has been in for the last decade.

People in the Dorm unit are not being informed of anything. Most have stopped going to the monthly member council meetings because they feel they have no voice, and that the meetings are nothing but glorified bitch sessions, and where the staff communicates threats of expulsion to veterans for things the staff knows other people from other units are doing.  So why bother going? Also these veterans feel they are imprisoned, because of the administrations attitude that its a privilege for them (the veterans) to be there, and that most are lazy and are there only because they want a handout.

A few months ago, a new Member handbook was printed out.. it was not ISSUED to members. In stead members (veterans) where encouraged to come to a member council meeting and after SIGNING THEIR NAME, they could get one.  Humm.. if its not important, why did they have to sign their name acknowledging they got a copy of it?

Also, no veteran is getting any help or information about housing, low income housing,  Section 8 vouchers, etc.. they have to go off campus to obtain that information.

Yet the original goal of the Dorm unit was to give them a time out and get them straightened out then back into society.  Apparently someone forgot the part about getting BACK into Society!

So, are they closing down the Dorm unit, or what is happening with it? Why aren't the people in Dorm being given the help they need, and the information they need?

You decide.. is this a good use of your tax dollars?

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