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The Problem of Homeless Veterans

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How would you describe a hero? Is it a fallen soldier, a soldier still fighting, or a soldier who awakens every morning knowing they took on the most honorable role a person ever could? These people fight for our survival, spend months overseas never knowing if they will return, they are separated from their family to keep your family safe, how could we not be thankful? A veteran, soldier, hero deserves the most praise a person could ever receive, but do all military receive it? Soldiers who are in desperate need of help are destitute. Traumatized, dire, and with no money keeping them financially stable they cannot afford a home!

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Veterans are fading after PTSD has left them vulnerable. Soldiers that have fought to keep you alive are now paying the price. Soldiers who have witnessed the most gruesome sights a person ever could are then left to come home and deal with it on their own, where is the medical, psychological, and priority treatment our veterans need. “Only half of those experiencing mental health problems sought help from the NHS, and those that did were rarely referred to specialist mental health services”. These people put you before themselves, is it too much to ask that we return the favor? No. Soldiers who do not ask for help are left to survive themselves. Most are ill, injured, and traumatized, most isolate themselves as they cannot face showing that they are vulnerable. Our veterans should not need to ask for help, help should already be waiting for them when they returned home. For every soldier that is valiantly fighting for our lives, there is one soldier who has lost their life to poverty, illness, and homelessness. Although these soldiers may roam the streets some are unidentifiable, these heroic, honorable, homeless heroes are who we depend on in times of need but what will happen when the people we praised are broken, bruised, and buried? “An ex-serviceman turned Conservative MP believes many veterans are self-diagnosing themselves with post-traumatic stress disorder in the hope of faster treatment”. The longer our men and women suffer the longer their mental health will have to shatter. Our heroes are not the only ones who are hurting, families are being torn apart because not enough people care. There is not one person but dozens being affected by your actions. Families are broken and lives are being ruined. “Homelessness affects parent’s ability to provide appropriate support to their children”. A child’s stability is crucial as it shapes their future. You would want the best for your child but what happens if you could not support them? Some people are not as lucky as others; some people only have one source of income to look after their children. A child should not have to carry this burden!

Many soldiers are turning to drugs to relieve their pain after independently failing to grasp the civilian lifestyle. After the lack of support, our heroes receive some turn to drugs as they see this as their only hope. “Many veterans turn to substance abuse to self-medicate and numb their pain”. More than 20% of veterans are turning to drugs as they see it as their only hope to ease their pain. Inews.co.uk tells the story of “A 23-year-old former soldier from Cumbria who served with Parachute Regiment. He left military service in late 2005 with no previous convictions, but since then has been convicted seven times, with five spells in prison”. This is happening as soldiers cannot cope as they fail to adjust to the civilian lifestyle as they cannot help but relive the devastation, horror, and distress of the war zone. It is disgusting that our veterans feel they need to turn to such drastic ways of life instead of getting the help that is so clearly needed. Instead of helping them, they are being locked up for something that could have been avoided. You pay taxes to make sure that our heroes who desperately need help are isolated, impounded, and incarcerated, instead of doing the right thing we treat them as a piece of dirt. The men and women who put their lives on the line are then expected to hit the ground running as they are stereotypically seen as being intangible, why do you allow this to happen? What will you do when you wake up one morning with no stability or reassurance about the day ahead as there will be no soldiers left to fight? We must protect our soldiers as they protected us, but with what support? Your typical average person could name possibly one way of support. So why are they then expected to return home and act normal, with little to no help available?

Veterans who have lost hope in our legal system depend on funding to keep them stable. Many soldiers are ashamed to discuss their heroic acts that have kept us all alive, as they have lost confidence in our Government as who would want to speak to a homeless, ill, traumatized veteran “many hide their military service to get a job” This is not enough, thirdforcenews.org.uk states that “Organisations planning projects offering new approaches to issues faced by ex-servicemen and women in areas such as health, housing and employment can bid for the fund”. Again this is nowhere near good enough, why should our soldiers need to bid? Why are we depending on charities to provide funding? Our Government takes an abundance of money from our heroes who cannot afford it. Our legal system lets our soldiers sleep on the streets but will take every penny they have. Yet again our soldiers are paying the price. Some soldiers are paralyzed with fear and have only their dignity. Some beg, some starve and only a few survive, why is it that our military suffer? Is enough being done? No!

Shakespeare once said, “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste death but once”. Some believe we have many lives but we only get one chance to live, these men and women decided that they wanted to spend possibly their only life protecting us. Most walk away without anyone knowing their name, many walk away as heroes in disguise, many lie in a shallow grave and this act of bravery is why they will always be heroes.

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