The National Alliance to End Homelessness reported that the number of homeless military veterans in New York State doubled in 2006 to 21,147. That number includes 5,670 in New York City and Long Island alone. Throughout the country, they now estimate that one in four homeless people is a veteran. These numbers are both staggering and appalling. These statistics cry out for action to reduce and eliminate them long before the next study is completed. But do we have the mindset and heart to accomplish that?
America honored its military personnel on Veteran’s Day and rightly so. Without these Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine troops and the courageous sacrifices they’ve made throughout our history, we might not today be in a free land called “America.” It might have been lost to a conquering enemy years ago. One national day of remembrance is certainly not enough to pray and give thanks for our sons and daughters who served. Commemorating America’s veterans should last a lifetime, demanding gratitude and respect from us all. Quite simply, America can truly never repay or honor these brave and patriotic men and women for all that they so justly deserve. The debt we owe is staggering … beyond comprehension … yet worth every penny, plus interest. Nevertheless, we must try. We must all be doing whatever we can to contribute to this cause of civilians protecting our veterans. Let it begin with these, our homeless veterans. Let it continue to those in VA hospitals. And let it embrace those on active duty as well.
New York City makes huge investments every year to invite tourists here. Can we not make a significant effort as well to welcome home and care for our homeless sons and daughters? These individuals have each paid a very high price for their service to our country. For some apparently, it’s cost everything. We all need to give whatever it takes to get the job done to help them … just like they previously gave all they had to do the same for us. Contact your local VA facility today to find out what you can do to help.