Does The U.S. Even Care About Its Soldiers?

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  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Does The U.S. Even Care About Its Soldiers?

    PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Following a faint trail through a dense patch of woods in Florida's Palm Beach County, Roy Foster is a man on a mission.

    Foster, 53, is searching for homeless veterans -- and he knows where to look.

    Whether in a vacant lot behind a supermarket or a small clearing off the highway, homeless vets aren't that hard to find: One in three homeless adults has served in the military, and more than 150,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night, according to the Veterans Administration.

    Working with the sheriff's homeless outreach unit, Foster finds vets camped in tents or makeshift lean-tos, where he delivers a message: There's help for you if you want it.

    "For our heroes to be living in [these] conditions, it's totally unacceptable," said Foster.

    Since 2000, approximately 900 veterans have found life-changing help at Foster's facility, Stand Down House. Named for the military command that gives troops time to rest after arduous duty, the program provides homeless male vets food, shelter and a safe place to recover, as well as the tools to conquer their personal problems. Vote now for the CNN Hero of the Year

    "The idea is that they can relax now; we'll take care of them," Foster said.

    Foster's motivation to help these men is personal: He used to be one of them.

    Born in rural Georgia, he joined the Army right after high school. During his six years in the military, he began drinking and experimenting with drugs. He was an alcoholic by the time he left the Army in 1980, and his drinking and drug use escalated as he struggled to adjust to civilian life.

    He spent the next decade battling his addictions, and at his lowest, he slept in flophouses or on the streets.

    "I was pretty much out of control," Foster said. "I felt hopeless, helpless, ashamed and inadequate."

    While struggling to get clean, Foster had difficulty finding a program that accepted veterans and provided the recovery services he needed, he said. The experience inspired him to design a program specifically for his brothers-in-arms.

    "That's when the commitment in my heart was born," Foster said.

    By the early 1990s, Foster settled into a life of sobriety, becoming a substance abuse counselor. Seeing that many vets continued to fall through the cracks, he joined forces with another vet, the late Don Reed, and established the nonprofit Faith*Hope*Love*Charity. After six years, Faith*Hope*Love*Charity created Stand Down House.

    Now five buildings in total, Stand Down House provides transitional housing and support services to 45 veterans in different stages of recovery.

    When vets arrive -- through referral by the Veterans Administration, which largely funds the program -- they receive meals, housing, clothing, counseling and transportation to the VA hospital for additional medical and mental health care.

    After 30 to 60 days, eligible veterans must begin to look for work or attend school, but they can continue receiving housing, case management, addiction counseling and life skills classes for as long as two years. Successful veterans are eligible for the program's final component: permanent, sober-living housing. Watch Foster seek out homeless veterans with the county sheriff »

    The camaraderie the veterans find with each other at Stand Down House is another vital component of their recovery process.

    "It was great to realize that other vets had been through similar experiences," said Matt Robinson, 28, who served in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard. Watch Robinson describe his experience at Stand Down House »

    With their past as a common bond, vets often become informal counselors to each other, helping one another stay on track.

    "We have each others' backs," said Joey Elluzzi, a Vietnam veteran.

    Many graduates find the companionship so valuable that they return as volunteers.

    As of 2008, Stand Down House reported that 93 percent of its eligible residents found work and 84 percent of graduates went on to live independently. Foster and his staff are now working with other programs around the country, sharing what they've learned.

    Despite his program's success, Foster said, there's more work to do. A new wave of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan is appearing at Stand Down House, and Foster said he's determined to serve -- and save -- this next generation.

    When asked why he does this, he simply answers, "It's my calling." Watch Foster talk about his mission to help homeless veterans »

    But for those Foster has helped, there's nothing simple about his achievements.


    "If you could see the people when they come in here -- how they look, act and smell -- and then see them after, being a positive part of society, I don't know how you couldn't call Roy a hero," veteran Keith Coleman said. "Think of all the lives he's changed."

    Former addict gives homeless veterans a second chance - CNN.com
     
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  3. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    Survey about the above article.

    Study: 744,000 homeless people in U.S.
    First national canvass in a decade finds a quarter were chronically homeless



    One in three homeless adults has served in the military, and more than 150,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night, according to the Veterans Administration.



    It is estimated now that there are over 3.6 million homeless people in the United States. This is about close to 1% of the population.

    The large increase is due to mainly the decline in the economy, which is a DIRECT correlation to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members."
    ~ Pearl S. Buck

    It's just interesting to see data such as the CNN one because it just goes to show how much America DOES NOT care about its soldiers, let alone poor people, and the homeless in general.

    The East is brainwashed by Religious doctrines; The West is brainwashed by Money and Materialism.

    Both are equally pathetic.

    There's no reason to continue unjust and illegal wars. ALL wars now a days are fought for Money. Soldiers are not fighting for freedom or democracy. They are fighting for companies such as Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobile, McDonalds, etc. You may think that you are fighting "insurgents", but you are not. At the end of the day, people die and companies make a profit.

    It's all business.

    If you support the troops, then bring them home.

    Study: 744,000 homeless in U.S. - Life- msnbc.com
     
  4. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Survey about the above article.

    Study: 744,000 homeless people in U.S.
    First national canvass in a decade finds a quarter were chronically homeless



    One in three homeless adults has served in the military, and more than 150,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night, according to the Veterans Administration.



    It is estimated now that there are over 3.6 million homeless people in the United States. This is about close to 1% of the population.

    The large increase is due to mainly the decline in the economy, which is a DIRECT correlation to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members."
    ~ Pearl S. Buck

    It's just interesting to see data such as the CNN one because it just goes to show how much America DOES NOT care about its soldiers, let alone poor people, and the homeless in general.

    The East is brainwashed by Religious doctrines; The West is brainwashed by Money and Materialism.

    Both are equally pathetic.

    There's no reason to continue unjust and illegal wars. ALL wars now a days are fought for Money. Soldiers are not fighting for freedom or democracy. They are fighting for companies such as Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobile, McDonalds, etc. You may think that you are fighting "insurgents", but you are not. At the end of the day, people die and companies make a profit.

    It's all business.

    If you support the troops, then bring them home.

    Study: 744,000 homeless in U.S. - Life- msnbc.com
     
  5. Eleventh Comet

    Eleventh Comet Regular Member

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    America certainly cares a lot about its soldiers, or at least a common American does.
     
  6. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    The united states cares a lot about it's veterans , the problem is that many personnel in the united states military are from the lower strata of american society and go through schooling thanks to the scholarships and support from the ROTC program(there's even talk of JROTC),these people have pretty much spent their entire educational lives (which is only high school by the way) living , talking breathing military .not all of these people become officers or even get into west point most of these become grunts in some marine expeditionary force. when these people retire they have little skills for the modern job world. This in turn leads them to destitution and poverty, what america does not need is another veteran support programme what america needs is a good programme to train former soldiers to survive in a dog eat dog world.
     

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