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Veterans still among homeless ranks

I want you for the U.S. Army nearest recruiting station / James Montgomery Flagg
I want you for the U.S. Army nearest recruiting station / James Montgomery Flagg
James Montgomery, 1877-1960: Public Domain

Unfortunately in our country of unprecedented opportunity, many families do not find the solace they thought inevitable. We live in a day where immigrants, veterans, and children do not always have the comfort of a home with at least poorly sealed windows and doors allowing the wind to howl in the night... and this would seem a small thing to ask for one Des Moines family, if only the need of food and clothing was not such a consuming conversation. For now, a house of their own seems so far out of reach.

A 2008 feature admitted, "... it is no secret many of the homeless people living in tents and so-called hooches are veterans, [but] we don't often examine the question of why." Since that article, few similar stories have tackled the million-dollar question. Why is it so priceless? If every displaced Veteran could be restored to the work force, America's working class would regain nearly 200,000 members - that is according to the 2007 study conducted by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, since Veterans comprised 1 in 4 of America's homeless.

Now that we have the data, has the issue vanished? Absolutely not. The difference between Des Moines streets known to Veterans like Paul Lizotte after returning from Vietnam, and the view we see in 2010, is the age of the Veterans. The homeless Veteran population is getting younger. Nationally, 70 percent (70%) of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan were in combat to some degree. While they may be saluted with yellow ribbons, Veterans make up almost a quarter of the homeless population in the United States (US Veteran's Administration).

Des Moines resident D. Morris has lived in Iowa for six years with her husband and two children. Her family has faced the issue of homelessness more the once, although their move to Des Moines came on the heels of Mr. Morris' new job in 2004. Since then, they have been through the layoff fire at least once each year. Prolonged periods without sustainable income introduced the Morris' to a welfare system ill-equipped to provide adequate resources for growing economic need. While Mrs. Morris is a US Veteran, her honorable discharge has not produced the financial security promised by Uncle Sam. "...they say you can get a house after you serve in the military... I have a certificate... [and no house]."