Michael J. Brien: A venting on veteran homelessness in New Hampshire
In September 2011, I met Ron, a Korean War vet staying at New Horizons Shelter in Manchester, who unfortunately had begun self-medicating with alcohol since the war. He would rather chew me up and spit me out than accept help. But after working with him for a couple of months and gaining his trust, he let me and another long-time case manager at New Horizons get him into a congregate living apartment through the Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority. It took several weeks more before he would accept that a one-bedroom apartment with a twin-sized bed, a small kitchen table, two kitchen chairs, a coffee table, recliner and TV donated by St. Vincent de Paul was really his to come home to every night.
In just the program I am paid through, Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), Congress and the VA established funding that they hoped would end homelessness among veterans by 2015. A noble and honorable goal, but I don't think so. Our current and recently-ended conflicts in Iraq and soon, Afghanistan, will be churning out homeless veteran numbers that previously took those who fought in Vietnam a half-generation to bring to light.
Thankfully for Linda's family, many hands pitched in to help. Some of them are continuing to help this woman put her life back together — they include the woman's own two hands and brute determination, her mother's caring and financial help, My Friend's Place, the Exeter and Manchester school systems, The Way Home, Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and a bunch of other organizations that just splash out in acronyms will astound you — SSVF, HVRP, SNAP, TANF, VA, VASH, VFWs. All for one mom-veteran and her kids.
It isn't easy, and we can't simply walk away.
There, I've said it.
READER COMMENTS: 12
- Texting while stopped: Banning safe behavior - 4
- Lives not lost: As long as we remember - 0
- Slammed: A Seabrook officer indicted - 9
- Abuse in school: A city teacher and a late report - 2
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- Reams vs. Foster: A power grab struck down - 4
- City health costs: Wellness coordinator is no fix - 1
- R.I.P., Tom Brennan: A good manager and better man - 2
READER COMMENTS: 2
- Two crashes reported on I-93 in Canterbury, Londonderry - 0
- Man killed in Seabrook fire identified - 0
- Student brings knife into Nashua school - 0
- Ex-director jailed for theft from Londonderry nursery school - 1
- UPDATE: Search suspended for Northfield man a second day - 0
- Anonymous email was 'malicious,' says Auburn police commissioner - 0
- Senate votes to ban hand-held cellphone use in cars; bill heads back to House - 10
- Auburn town administrator under fire - 0
- Belmont High likely will keep Red Raider mascot - 3
Manchester mayor: 'It's the tax cap budget'
Derry woman accused of burglaries
Decency displayed: Havenstein's nice start