S&S: VA figures show steep decline in number of homeless veterans

| May 31, 2012

In this article at Stars & Stripes, titled above, Leo Shane reports that, in this election year when both parties are actively lobbying for the votes of veterans, the VoteVet arm of the government, Veterans’ Affairs Department, unsurprisingly tells us that the number of homeless vets has dropped in the last four years.

Fewer than 60,000 veterans are now believed to be homeless, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said Wednesday, a decline of more than 90,000 from public estimates four years ago.

But VA officials warn that getting the remaining veterans off the streets — and meeting their goal of ending veterans homelessness by 2015 — may prove even more difficult in the years to come.

Needless to say, I just don’t believe it. I don’t have any evidence to the contrary, only my own disbelief. I’ll bet that they could take that many homeless vets off of the rolls just by verifying the service of the homeless instead of taking their word at face value. That said, it only takes one real homeless veteran to be a national shame.

But, I just think it’s funny that they release this news just days after Gallup says veterans are supporting Romney and the only reason they support Romney is because he just hasn’t had a chance to screw over veterans – that time will come, eventually, I’m sure.

Category: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Veterans Issues

Comments (16)

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  1. Darkwater says:

    Agreed. No coincidence at all.

    James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal, in the Best of the Web column, used to hit all the ‘army of the homeless’ items in the press that showed up after Bush took over from Clinton, then suddenly vanished once Obama came to power.

  2. JP says:

    Where did they go? Did the regime go “Soylent Green” on them?

  3. TPM says:

    I am the IT guy at a veterans transitional housing center. We still have a waiting list….

  4. Hondo says:

    I can believe this if they’re actually verifing claimant status vice the common past practice of taking any claim of “homeless vet” at face value.

    The number of “homeless vets” has been grossly exaggerated for decades. BG Burkett and Glenn Whitley documented in Stolen Valor that Vietnam Vets, for example, are homeless at a lower rate than the rest of society. My guess is the exact same is true for Grenada, Panama, Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan vets today.

  5. OWB says:

    This cycle has been going on for decades at least. It’s one of those issues that sparked my curiosoty in what the various political parties really stand for.

    Believe it or not, lots of ordinary people also notice that “homeless vets” is always a serious issue whenever Rep’s are in power and ceases to be an issue at all whenever Dem’s are in charge. At least that is what one is led to believe based on the media reporting.

    All that tells me is that there are more folks who wish to use vets as a talking point, wedge issue, or some other self serving agenda than wish to actually address the issue realistically.

  6. NHSparky says:

    Watch for a huge upswing in PTSD and homeless vets starting in January 2013 when Romney takes office.

  7. OldSoldier54 says:

    “Needless to say, I just don’t believe it.”

    Jonn, how can you be SOOOO cynical? This administration has SUCH a sterling reputation for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, after all …

  8. McNally says:

    I seem to recall that, as recently as last month (perhaps even more recently), the VA’s Facebook page talking about the rising numbers of veteran homelessness.

    I guess the numbers change if you shift the goal lines. By homeless, they now mean “literally living in a cardboard box,” as opposed to “living with a friend or relative,” I guess. That would cause a drop in figures.

  9. Sig says:

    If this study had come out in 2003, the headlines would be, “Bush Misplaces 90,000 Homeless Veterans.”

  10. DR_BRETT says:

    “But VA officials WARN that . . .
    may prove EVEN MORE DIFFICULT . . .”

  11. 1stSgt says:

    I regularly volunteer at a homeless shelter. Of the hundreds of homeless veterans I have met, I am pretty sure that 2 of them were actually homeless vets.

  12. TPM says:

    The guys and gals who were veterans (myself included) had only ourselves to blame for our situations. Once clean, it was pretty easy to get a couple months in transition housing, save up, and get back to a normal life. Anytime I get hit up for change, I offer them a chance. One (out of who knows how many) was actually a vet and he had no intention of getting clean. As a former homeless junkie who even worked at the VA, I can say the R.O.I. for the homeless programs is pretty low. It was a good idea that has become a way of life for some. I know cats who got to the VA Domiciliary, get their weight and money up, go on a couple month binge, and repeat as needed. My 2c worth> The reason we (a non-profit 501 home) have a waiting list is because the VA programs are pretty much jam-packed with professional system riders. If you burn all your personal bridges, the VA will take you again and again and again.

  13. McNally says:

    Wait, I just had a thought. Is it possible the reason that the VA doesn’t seem especially interested in curbing veteran suicide is to get the veteran homelessness number down?

    It all makes sense now. Someone fetch me my tin foil hat.

  14. OWB says:

    Naw, McNally. That’s not it at all – if the numbers drop there is less need for the folks we currently pay to deal with them, so might have to find employment doing something. Hence, they really don’t care how many non-vets the treat or count.

    Job security.

    Pass me the pink cammo tinfoil hat, please, and a fresh bag of skittles.

  15. Concerned Veteran says:

    TPM, you are 100 percent correct. When the VA stops paying Vets to travel to the hospital for care, the number of professional system riders will decrease. The VAMC I work at spends over $18,000 a DAY on travel pay alone. There was so much fraud, we now have a permanently assigned LEO from the IG’s office at the hospital to investigate fraudulent claims. The revolving door in the substance abuse program is a huge problem too. Like you said, no limits on how many times you can go through the 28 day program. 3 hots and a cot on steroids. Hell, some Vets get high while IN the program and still get to stay or return when they want to. In my clinic, we had a Vet making a drug deal on the phone in the waiting area. He was going to meet his supplier in the parking lot. IMO, the problem with the system is no accountability, or sense of stewardship by employees for resources, and like OWB says, job security means keeping as many Vets in the system as possible. There are good providers in the VA, but the majority are liberal assholes who don’t give a fuck about Veterans, don’t know jack about military culture or history, nor care to learn, and are in it for the big salaries/benefits. They hand out narcotics like skittles and then wonder why so many Vets end up with substance abuse problems. My spouse won’t go there unless he absolutely has to and has told his PC doc to shove his pills up his ass. He won’t take anything they try to push on him and they do push.