Recently I heard on NPR that thousands of homeless veterans were unable to get housing on the 388 acres of land owned by the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles. Only 150 people are now lucky enough to be living in the one building that the VA has built there for them. Over the years the government started leasing out the property to all sorts of projects that have nothing to do with the welfare of veterans:
A baseball stadium for UCLA
A golf course
A Japanese garden
Several large parking lots for cars and trucks
A parrot sanctuary
A working oil well
A 20 acre athletic field for an exclusive prep school
What kind of insanity is this? Our government can spend billions on airplanes that will never see combat, but it can’t find the money to help the homeless vets and their families?
Over 8,500 families sleep in their cars, campers, or vans every night in Los Angeles. Presently, the city has one emergency program in operation. Ten parking spaces have been set aside on the VA property, and there is one portable toilet with hand-washing capabilities. There is one security guard who is a member of the LA police force. The facility is open at 8PM. The entire family must leave every morning at 8AM! This is a program our government actually brags about.
How do other countries care for their homeless?
Can our government and our philanthropists come up with better solutions to help the homeless than a Porta Potty? Let’s look at what other countries are doing? In Turkey they have recently built a model refugee center called Kilis. It is one of six camps each with 2,053 identical container homes. No tents, no smells, no rotting garbage, no raw sewage. Each home has three rooms, and the front door is lockable. The bathroom is serviced by its own plumbing with hot-water tanks. The kitchen is equipped with both a refrigerator and a stove. Each camp has its own laundry center which washes clothes and sheets twice a week, free of charge.
What straightforward excuses can our Congress make for not helping our homeless veterans? It has often been stated that a nation will be judged on how it treated its poor and the elderly. We can now also add how it treated its veterans.
Offie C. Wortham, Johnson, VT