Cameren S. Minnesota

Homeless Veterans

Over the course of our existence many people have fought for our freedoms and protected us as a country. But, many of those people aren't getting the things they need such as a home and care. That is a problem we need to fix.

Dear Next President,

There have been many people in America who have fought and died for the sake of our country. Leaving the sanctuary of their home is already hard on them. Many of those men and women are fortunate to come home to loving families. While a variety of others come home to nothing. As a young American, I believe more work needs to be done to protect the veterans of this country from being left on the streets or abandoned.

Every person wishes to come home from war to see a home cooked meal and the ones they love beside them, but not everyone gets to experience that. According to Gregg Zoroya of USA Today, “On any given night, 40,000 veterans are homeless, including 13,000 who live on the streets, according to figures released Monday based on estimates and head counts of homeless veterans across the country”. That quote points out that even with all the people working to help the veterans, there are still tens of thousands of veterans that live without anyone to care for them. That thought is not only troubling, but it’s just disappointing. These men and women have fought for our country, yet we haven’t even given them what they need: a home. But, not only do they need physical help, with what they have went through they may need mental help as well.

There have been many studies done to show that veterans are not doing okay mentally, and being a homeless veteran does not make it any better. A 2010 article written by the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs titled “VA’s “Wide Path” Out of Homelessness” acknowledges the negative effects on homeless veterans. The article states,“The percentages of homeless Veterans with substance use or psychiatric issues is telling. In the most recent annual report of the Health Care for Homeless Veterans program, which is VA’s outreach and case management program, it reported that 64% had a diagnosis of drug or alcohol dependence”. Soldiers experience traumatizing events while they are out serving, and that can cause severe mental health problems. Veterans tend to rely on harmful substances to make them forget about their painful encounters. But, what has been done so far to help decrease the amount of veterans without homes?

The previous president, Barack Obama, has done quite a bit to get our people off the streets. Many people believe that enough has been done, and we need to focus on other issues. But according to John Parkinson of Abc News in his article “Obama Says Population of Homeless Veterans Cut in Half”, Obama has released information on how much he has cut down the numbers of homeless vets. Parkinson wrote, “President Obama announced the U.S. has cut the number of homeless veterans by 47 percent during a speech at the Disabled American Veterans convention in Atlanta today”. This shows how Obama was working toward ending this issue, as well as focusing on other issues. President Obama has by far done the most for our vets in general, but he believes his work should not be ended by the next president coming in.

In conclusion, I wish to see the same ambition from the next president of the United States of America to end all homelessness for our veterans. They have fought for our freedom, and in the process they have lost many things. And as an American citizen, I hope they have an opportunity to live a happy life. I believe the first step in making America great again is by giving all citizens shelter, food, and care.

Best of luck,

Cameren Steinhoff

10th Grade

West Saint Paul, MN