Homeless veterans in NC need, deserve special help

June 3, 2014 

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have put Veterans Affairs under siege to provide more care, and the injuries sustained by many veterans will create for them lifelong needs. But these vets have another cruel challenge: The country they served still is recuperating from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and jobs are scarce.

For many vets, that translates into poverty and homelessness, a fate they do not deserve. Some had job prospects before they entered military service and understandably believed they could rejoin the civilian workforce when they came home. Recession changed that.

Toward addressing the problem, the town of Butner has received a grant from the Community Development Block Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to renovate a complex for homeless veterans on the site of the former John Umstead Hospital, a facility that dates to World War II.

It will be called the Veterans Life Center. And therein, these veterans in truly desperate circumstances will be exposed to hope. They’ll get medical care, counseling, help with breaking the cycle of substance abuse and assistance with learning vocations.

Those who go to Butner – participation will follow guidelines of other such centers – will be given a chance they need and, yes, one they have earned. This country always has prided itself on taking care of the men and women who have served in uniform, and this sort of care must become more commonplace in helping the modern-day warrior.

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