Veterans’ progress marches on … slowly

by Melinda Henricks, Staff Writer

On Veterans Day, ceremonies are held around the nation honoring veterans past and present. This is a lovely, necessary gesture as we all benefit from the honor, dedication and service of these individuals.

In September, the Valley Star reported about a lack of housing for veterans at the Westwood V.A. Although there was some progress last month, there are still roadblocks that exist for completing the housing.

In January, Gov. Eric Garcetti pledged that all homeless vets would be placed in housing at the Westwood before year’s end. However, there is still debate on how and when the project will reach fruition.

Amidst the confusion, Mayor Garcetti has pushed through legislation that will offer temporary housing to get these veterans off the streets until the project is completed.

Additionally, the Elks Club has pledged $4 million to assist homeless Veterans with housing and supportive services. And, a court ruling By U.S. District Judge S. James Otero, defends the fact that the property be used solely for the veterans.

This conforms with the criteria of the donating family. Military Times has posted an architectural rendition of the proposed plan online, but groundbreaking on the project is currently still halted.

Unfortunately, there are other issues of concern that also require continued focus. The Department Veterans Affairs released information in October stating that the average age of a displaced vet is 51 years old.

Additionally, citing a count that found 4,300 local Vets are homeless and requiring services. Somehow this has raised questions among the public as some believe that the age range does not correlate with the wartime statistics.

There are a plethora of explanations regarding these statistics. I say that this is an issue where we must give “blind faith” to our wounded vets. Let’s not put them through more trauma.

When these young men and women served our country they gave us “blind faith.” In most cases, these soldiers had no idea what they were going to face and how they would deal with the outcome.

It is imperative that we ask no questions about their reactions or make them feel more displaced than they already are.

Senators Barbara Boxer and Ted Lieu are currently looking for ways to make negotiations, with court approval, that will allow for a partial mixed-use setting that benefit the vets.

This would include interaction with recuperative aspects of life that would also produce continued funding.

Additionally, 1Matters.org is a volunteer non-profit organization started by a recovering veteran to help other vets with homelessness and recovery issues.

Your thoughts?