28 October 2013

I've heard the phrase "a help up. Not a hand out" when people talk about homelessness. Pride, dignity. Help those who want to come in from the street to make a better life for themselves. Give them a chance.

The VA says it wants to end honelessness for veterans by 2015. Get vets off the street, help get life stabilized so we don't just end up homeless again.

The VA transitional housing program I'm in requires us to apply for benefits- VA disability, food stamps, Social Security, etc.  They want us to sign up to get in the waiting list for low income housing, so we have somewhere to go when our two years in the program is up.

Where I'm from, all of these benefits add up to one word: welfare- a word that can be ugly, depending on how it's said.

Let's get these men and women off the street, and get them on welfare. That's the plan.

I call bullshit.

I call bullshit, because for a lot of vets, there's not much choice other than to follow along. Just sign your rights and your paycheck over to the program and everything will be fine. 

Don't work too much or you won't qualify for more free money. College? Tech or trade school? Apprenticeship? Whatever. Here's a few hours of work painting the hallways for some extra cash. 

No one evet talks about getting out of the quicksand.

Facts, fellow vets-- employers don't give a shit that you can repair radios in MOPP gear in the Desert, or that you were responsible for the tool crib. You need to go to school and learn how to do something that someone else will pay you mad money to do.

Rising up and out of a fucked situation has nothing to do with wining the welfare lottery, and everything to do with getting stable, but getting educated.

The kick in the teeth is that education- hell, even bartending school- should be a huge part of helping vets get flying right again.

Believe that you can.Even if they don't. 

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