AMAC In The Media / Opinion / Politics / Press Releases / Veterans News

AMAC Action Puts a Focus on Homeless Heroes — America’s Veterans — Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

homelessWASHINGTON, DC, Sep 4 — Here’s a disarming statistic: more than half a million Americans are homeless.  And, nearly 200,000 of them sleep on sidewalks, empty lots or under bridges most nights, anywhere they can find a modicum of shelter.

And, says the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], too many of them are veterans who risked their lives for us, men and women who have served in conflicts going back as far as World War II.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] more than 40,000 of America’s homeless population are veterans.  Meanwhile, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans says “about 1.4 million other veterans…are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.”

Bob Carlstrom, president of the association’s advocacy affiliate, AMAC Action, notes that the Veterans Administration does what it can for homeless veterans, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on its resources.  He says that AMAC has put a priority on efforts to encourage Congress to pass the Homeless Veteran Coronavirus Response Act.

“The bill does not seek to allocate more money.  Instead, it is designed to give the VA an okay to reallocate existing funds to aid homeless vets during this time of crisis.  The good news is that the measure has bi-partisan support.  It was introduced in the Senate by Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and companion legislation was also introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Levin (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL),” according to Carlstrom.

Carlstrom explained that the measure would loosen certain regulations and enable the VA to use existing resources to offer homeless veterans the additional assistance they may need, including transportation, communication devices and services, and basic amenities, like clothing, blankets and hygiene items in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The law would also allow the VA to work with partner organizations to set up shelters on its properties. Finally, the bill ensures that homeless veterans have access to the VA’s telehealth services.

Meanwhile, the proposed legislation has attracted broad based support.  The CEO of the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, Kathryn Monet, sent a message exhorting lawmakers to support the bill.  “The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of veteran homelessness that we were already facing, and we must do more to get our nation’s heroes off the streets.  Our legislation takes commonsense steps to facilitate shelters, transitional housing and other services for veterans and their families in the face of public health challenges. We must expand these services as soon as possible.”

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1 year ago

Homeless is an issue well beyond veterans and is very complicated. There are homeless families, homeless seniors, homeless young people, men, women and children and all races. And we also have a population who live in their car. All these groups have special interest and there are veterans in all of them. So is your intentions to only take care of the veterans and leave the family out in the cold?? Addressing the homeless issue is not as easy as building heated stalls for them to sleep in and providing food for them to eat. Nor as I have found out this summer as easy as opening up your home and feeding them with no restraints. The homeless are a diverse population. Find out exactly why they are homeless and address their individual needs. Help those who don’t want to be homeless and find a safe place for those who want to be homeless to be homeless. As crazy as that sounds, there actually are people who do want to be homeless and don’t want your help. I’m not so sure but a conservation program might be something to think about. The fires have destroyed a lot of things that need to be rebuild.

1 year ago
Reply to  LTC S

Very well thought out response. Addressing this complex issue requires a lot more than simply the usual “Lets just throw some money at the problem or offer some hand-outs” approach. There needs to be a real individual analysis of why a particular person is homeless to first determine if they are homeless strictly because of economic reasons or if they have a mental illness or other condition that has resulted in their current situation. Otherwise, all that will end up happening is a few politicians and lobbyists getting a photo op and publicity for a program that only addresses a very small segment of the homeless community they intended to help.

Brian Eargle
1 year ago
Reply to  LTC S

Some homeless veterans might want to volunteer for CCC camps, rebuilding our decaying infrastructure along with disaster relief. I hope such a program will be all voluntary, with no shame for those who don’t volunteer.

The Ugly Truth
1 year ago

I’m a Vietnam veteran, and have reservations about the frequent pleadings over the “homeless” just because they wore a uniform in their youth for a few years. Most of today’s homeless street vets served in peace time, or in safe rear echelons if ever assigned to areas of a conflict. Strangely enough most of these people are living the life they choose. Many are too unambitious to work to help themselves. Most are mentally deficient and don’t fit into normal society, and fight being forced into shelters and having decisions made for them. Sadly enough, you can’t help those that fit this description, and as I said they don’t want help anyhow, beyond a cash handout and maybe a free meal.

1 year ago
Reply to  The Ugly Truth

Your comments are a disgrace, you haven’t walked in the jump boots of every military person so don’t speak like it. Being in Vietnam didn’t make you more of a veteran than another somewhere else. Many came before you giving you protections , many were there with you and for you , and many have served after your time. I am as much a military veteran as you are just a different time and place. No single person wins a war and no single War has ever stopped all wars . Without my expertise military guys who got hurt would be dead too. I was right nearby just as much of danger as you just as much as willing to kill just as much shot at bombed on. Have you heard of the 93rd EVAC? Its the whole team on the ground or above that protects/fights/ends a battle. You dishonor the uniform you wore by questioning the uniform of another military person. Only speak for the boots you wore, don’t speak unless you walked in the other veterans boots. If they’ve earned that uniform they’ve earned the respect that comes with that uniform that represents the Constitution of the United States of America and The Bill of Rights.

The Ugly Truth
1 year ago
Reply to  JLPJ

Thanks for the insults. I stand by what my opinion is (and it’s just as relevant as yours) and if you had read what I said more carefully instead of losing your cool, you will discover what I said up there is quite evident. You can’t help those that don’t want to be helped.

Last edited 1 year ago by The Ugly Truth
1 year ago

I support AMAC endeavors to push the Homeless bill. Half million people homeless in nation of 330 million people is a bad ratio. I support efforts to help veterans and others in any way possible to get them back to a better life. Go AMAC action.

1 year ago
Reply to  JohnH

Verify their veteran starts (by ID and a visit to a VAMC); then if every good standing American would help a homeless veteran to not be homeless, there wouldn’t be any homeless veterans. Civilians helping veterans solves the problem. Thus should be taught as a “civic duty”.

1 year ago

Living here in Progressively Communist Democratic CaliMexico where we have at least 10 million illegals, where even our State Attorney General “brags” about it, we have more and more evidence of Homeless and especially Homeless Seniors (both men and women) especially living in cars. And with our Jackass Governor closing the gyms, where do these people get to shave and shower? Our fabulous climate allows for these people to survive and we certainly have thousands more than any other state because of it. Many of these people are forced to live so because many jobs are closed down but what’s especially aggravating is having all these 10 million illegals working especially in service industries where an American citizen can’t work because they don’t speak Spanish and thus can’t communicate with these people. We even have more Mexican food establishments than American food establishments. The Homeless I see are American citizens and NOT HISPANICS!!! I encourage President Trump to cut off all Federal aid to CaliMexico UNTIL CaliMexico turns these people over for deportation! Homeless American citizens and Homeless citizens living in their cars should NOT BE TOLERATED while 10 million illegals prosper here in what I call CaliMexico!!!

Janet Barlow
1 year ago
Reply to  Rik

Rik, you are so right. I also live here, but I am leaving the State towards the end of this month because, as a Senior, I am priced out of the rental housing and can’t even think about buying a home…not even a mobile home unless it is in a dump. I see the legals/illegals driving fancy and big SUV’s, using tablets, having the latest in new phones, fancy stereos in the fancy cars turned up loud to Mexican music or profanity laced rapper stuff (not music by any means), expensive high-end tennis shoes, etc. while seeing poor Americans of all color and nationality, ages, and walks of life pushing carts or carrying trash bags with their possessions. No where to go and mostly a feeling of despair is evident in the faces. Some sleeping in junker cars and other’s in tents or cardboard shelters. One group gets regular handouts of taxpayer funds to help with housing, food, utilities, etc…no problem getting beer and cigarettes…while working under the table and not reporting it to anyone. The other group gets whatever Social Security available to them whether by age or disability, some medications from the Health Department or some program and most do not qualify for the same assistance as the Hispanics because they are white…only reason that makes sense at the moment. I want to see something done for all of our homeless and displaced Seniors before taking care of illegals and even legal Hispanics and other nationalities because it has always been a requirement that people coming here must be able to support themselves or have a sponsor to support them until they are self-sufficient or have a profession that was beneficial to people…entry was denied at Ellis Island on that basis generations ago. Illegals that are here need to go back and get in line like those who come here the right way or maybe they need to get busy and start changing how their own country operates so that they have a good life too.

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