Friday, April 19, 2013

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans- is there a need for a Dorm unit?

I think we can all agree that for the most part, the need for a veterans home in Michigan will continue for years to come. As long as America is involved in conflicts all over the planet, we will have people who need nursing care, for wounds received in those conflicts. Taking care of your veterans is a responsibility every nation must endure.

But what about the Dorm unit? The unit with little if any nursing care (compared to the full time care given on other units), but with it still available if needed, is more like college dormitory than anything. Guys and Gals assigned to this unit are ambulatory and self medicating. Their medical needs may be as little as just to pick up meds' once a month to severe as recovering from heart bypass surgery as Mac did. Mac had heart surgery at the VA hospital in Ann Arbor, was in intensive care for 12 days then returned to the Dorm unit to continue his recovery.

Some guys are there by court order, for what ever reason, some are there because they are able to take care of them selves, but need a structured limited environment to live in.  Still others are there because they had no place else to go.

And that is what I want to focus on. IS there a need for what some people would call a taxpayer funded flop house for homeless veterans?  The original Veterans home was built to give veterans from the civil war who were found in poor houses, a place to come and live. These veterans participated in the upkeep and maintenance of the home, and worked the farm that produced the food eaten at the home. And I am sure they had some privacy, however it may have been limited somewhat by the circumstances.

Todays' Dorm unit veterans need to be homeless, and like previous veterans, practically if not actually, financially broke or living at or below the governments "poverty" line. Many have alcohol problems, some have drug problems, others, mental problems.

The Dorm unit vets, mostly live in 2.3 or 4 man rooms. There are a couple of 1 man rooms, but they are the exception. 4 bed rooms are the norm, with 2 to 3 vets in them, each having about 64 square feet of living space. (That is an 8x8 foot area separated by curtains).

What is the current purpose of the Dorm unit? Is its purpose still the original one? That is to give homeless veterans a place to live besides the street? Is it to help veterans, to give them a needed "time out" so that they can get their lives back together and then to return to society, seeing how their nursing care need is minimal?

If the current purpose of the Dorm unit is still the original one, then the state needs to look at recent events at the home and question why so many veterans have been involuntarily discharged from the home.

If the current purpose of the Dorm unit is to give veterans a "time out" then again the state needs to look at why veterans are not being given the help they need, and the information they need when it comes time to move out, as required by law according to the Federal government. One of their officers contacted the owner of this blog to inquire if veterans were being given information when it came time to leave. Of course the are not so such was reported to them.

Veterans with drug problems are not getting help, those with alcohol problems are not getting any help, and those with other mental problems that could be helped with group therapy or what ever kind of counseling, are not getting any of that.

Since Taxpayer are paying for this facility and the cost of housing some of these veterans (those without pensions, disability income, or Service connected disability income, or any kind of income), the people have a right to know how their money is being spent, and why so many veterans were at the home, were discharged, and why many of them have been found dead on the streets after being evicted from the home.

If the original purpose of the Dorm unit, is still as it once was, then we have a serious problem. As long as the economy in Michigan remains in a state of depression, and a recovery is still years away, there will be a need for the Dorm unit. However, there is a greater need to review the administrations policies concerning this unit and to inquire as to why so many veterans have gone both in and out of its doors, leaving without the help they needed, and without being prepared to return to society.

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