Amaurotic Ambition

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Homelessness, Hunger, Poverty, and Politics

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In April of 2011, I was preparing to embark on a bicycle journey to increase my own awareness on a topic that I was not so familiar with.  The social issue that I chose to explore was homelessness.  As I searched around the internet I stumbled across something that hit home.  There is a large number of veterans that are sleeping on our nations streets.  Having retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after 26 years of service I found myself wondering how veterans could ever become homeless. I discover my own naivety.

During my service in the U.S. Coast Guard we were trained on the usual social issues of our times: human diversity, civil rights, and sexual harassment to name just a few.  This caused me to begin my research of homeless veterans and was eventually extended to the sum of all homelessness in America.  Once again, my naivety was exposed.  I had no idea what caused homelessness.  Was it our nations economy?

What are the signs of a weakening economy? While I agree with the article linked below it fails to identify the real “values”.  This is not an unusual circumstance in our country these days.  I believe that most economists do not consider homelessness, hunger, poverty, and politics (HHPP) as an early warning sign of a declining economy.  Our economists focus on certain reports issued by our government, which focuses primarily on the numbers, but ignores the economic impact of HHPP.   It’s like knowing that oil reserves are drying up and nobody is raising the prices.   I believe these are early signs for any countries economic condition.  Even our ecological condition does not find itself part of the our economic condition.  What is the sustainability?  The basic necessities to sustain life are: A healthy environment, adequate shelter, clean water, food, clean air, an adequate healthcare system, a fare and adequate income, and worldwide peace. Removing any of these basic necessities threatens all life on our planet. If we fail to plan for our future someone will have a plan for us.  This means we will experience an even greater reduction of our natural resources.  It is obvious that when it comes to protecting our environment  or ensuring that our economy is healthy you can bet the economy will come first; however, I still hope for the day that our environmental condition along with all issues that plague our society will be combined, and that combination shall become the measurement of our real economic and ecological condition.

To learn more about homelessness I did some very simple research that revealed some shocking estimates:

  • An estimated 1.5 million Americans are homeless (National Alliance to End Homelessness).
  • An estimated 200,000 veterans are homeless during any given night (Department of Homeless Affairs). The department has implement a national call center for homeless vets: 877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838) which enables vets to call for themselves or citizens may call for someone else. The service is free and confidential, manned by trained VA counselors to assist, available 24 hours/7 days a week.  The department also provides information about VA homeless programs and mental health services in your area that can help.  For Homeless Vets call: 877.424.3838
  • There is some controversy regarding the average age of a homeless person.  We need to know more!
    To Be Young (Like 9, on Average?) and Homeless (New York Times).
  • Links to individual efforts: MAM Productions
  • My Homeless Playlist– Listen close to the comments made by Bill O’Reilly.  He is one of the reasons I do not watch FOX News.

We are supposed to learn from history.  The truth is that wars have produced homeless people throughout the history of wars.  It is my opinion that before we enter into war we should have the ability to provide reasonable care (including homelessness) to our veterans and all human beings who are experiencing homelessness in America.

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Written by James J. Pond

March 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM

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