Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Veterans of Michigan Beware: Michigan has turned its back on veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for veterans.

I don't what is going on at the veterans home, but one thing is clear: the Veterans home is no longer for the veterans.

Dorm unit guys are being systematically discharged for stupid reasons and without due process.
Nursing unit guys are being over drugged, and their money being stolen from them via the guardian laws.

Discharged guys get their reputations bashed and slandered by staff.

And although many are applying for admittance, few are being granted access.

Just about every thing that has made living at the home barable for the veterans has been taken away from them.

Moral at the home is at an all time low.

And this is all, standard operation procedures for the home now, because no one has held them accountable.

Every man in the Dorm unit, and the 3 women, 1 of whom is a veteran herself, are now in danger of being discharged with no place to go. Due to rule changes, even though the home classifies them as homeless veterans, the state says they are not, and do not qualify for the HUD VASH  (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing,) program until after they are discharged.

Basically this means they are thrown to the street, before HUD will help them.  Instead of a smooth transition from being a homeless veteran at the home, to a home of their own, they now have to face the trama of being homeless, some without any income, and without any resources for survival.

Apparently someone has forgotten how hard it is for a homeless person to get back on their feet.
First, they need a valid address - Homeless people have no address! Then they need a phone contact number, so they can be reached when someone wants to offer them a job. And they need reliable transportation - you cannot rely on the city bus system. And they need an income. Social security Supplemental income,  Social Security Disability income, Welfare cash assistance; something that helps you pay your rent or living costs.

Then you need to find a job that pays enough for you to pay your bills, or supplements what government gives you thru one of the above programs.  And getting those programs running takes time.

I am told it can take 2 to 6 weeks for a veteran to find, qualify for, and be approved for an apartment under the HUD VASH program. And even then they are the ones who pay the deposit and first months rent - hard to do with no income.

Veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for veterans, are not being told as to what is happening to them, or why so many are being tossed out. Administration claims many are disciplinary in nature, but when one sees the real facts of each case, one finds out the real reason is because the home does not want to deal with the issues the veteran is having. Or the home will claim that it is not set up to help veterans with those kinds of issues, therefore the veteran has to leave to find help else where.

Many have no where else to go, as they have been at the home for several years and in that time have lost every thing they own. In fact, one of the criteria of being a member in the Dorm unit, is you have no assets and little if any income.

Over the last 5 years, the Dorm unit has housed many veterans who have lost everything they ever worked for, due to their loosing their jobs because of NAFTA and the down turn of the states economy. And just as many have been in the Dorm unit who were there because of alcoholism.

Originally the Veterans home was setup to give Civil war Veterans who were poor and broke, a place to live. This is what the Dorm unit was today. A place for poor veterans with nothing, to have a place to live, and to get their lives back under control and to eventually move out of the home.

But the home does NOTHING to help these guys return to society, instead the home now uses them to make money for the state. They started charging them exorbitant rates for their room and board and healthcare. On average they charge a dorm unit veteran 2100 dollars a month for Cost of Care. The veteran gets 56-50 square feet of bed space, no privacy as the room is 2 to 4 men to a room. These 4 men will share 1 toilet and 2 sinks in the room, and 50 or so on each of the 2 floors of the Rankin building will share 2 normal showers, 1 handicap shower, and 1 bathtub/shower per floor.
All other spaces are public and community spaces.

Give those guys 2100 to live on on the outside, and they can get a 2 bedroom apartment, make a car payment, pay for all utilities, and help pay for their medical care at the VA clinic, and live quite comfortably. Instead, many end up on Social security disability which after deductions leaves them living on less than 1000 dollars a month - below the nations poverty level.

And this doesn't even being to address the atrocities of the nursing units. Some of which charge guys up to 7,900.00 a month to be there. Add to the fact that many have guardians appointed to them, and you have a recipe for theft on a grand scale.  

This is why so many veterans at the home wonder why congress is not investigating this place, and why they are so frustrated that nothing is being done to help them.

It clearly is not a HOME for veterans. 

Michigan, a state with a population of 9.8 million people, cannot, or will not provide a proper level of living for just 500 or less, of its wounded warriors. 

God forgive us.

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