Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Remembering homeless veterans, bringing the troops home

Friday is a day to remember the homeless, as well as a day to take some action to stop the war in Iraq.

And, yes, they are related. As the environmentalists remind us, everything is connected.

National Council for the Homeless explains:

Each year since 1990, on or near the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has sponsored National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our homeless friends who have paid the ultimate price for our nation's failure to end homelessness. This year, the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) has joined us in co-sponsoring this event.

In an effort to maximize the impact of the day, NCH and the NHCHC have encouraged local and statewide organizations to hold memorials of their own. Last year, over 100 cities across the nation, from Detroit to Seattle to Washington, DC, sponsored events to honor those who had died and to recommit to the task of ending homelessness.
The National Council for Homeless Veterans answers the question: How many homeless veterans are there?

Although accurate numbers are impossible to come by -- no one keeps national records on homeless veterans -- the VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country. According to the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Urban Institute, 1999), veterans account for 23% of all homeless people in America.
Friday, December 21, is also Iraq Moratorium #4, which includes a plea to remember and honor veterans and their families during the holiday season, the fifth Christmas with US troops in Iraq -- at the same time that we take action to end the war and bring the troops home. There is no better way to support our troops than to get them out of Iraq.

(An expanded version of this post is at Docudharma.)