Photo by James V. Carroll

Vet homelessness a topic at conference

During its annual Washington Conference in March, The American Legion will host a roundtable discussion focused on the topic of reducing veterans homelessness. Representatives from federal agencies, homeless service providers, faith-based organizations and other institutions will meet at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington on March 18 from 10 a.m. to noon to discuss the issue, which has only worsened since the war on terror began.

Estimations and studies have shown veterans comprise a little more than one-fifth of the nation’s homeless population, with 107,000 of them on the street any given night. Recently, a significant rise has been recorded in homelessness for veterans with children, particularly women veterans – a demographic that is the fastest growing among the homeless population. The American Legion and the other organizations and agencies with representation at the roundtable discussion will look to find ways to address and quell these issues, which worsen as the conflicts overseas prolong.

The public is invited to attend. Individuals or organizations who wish to be on hand for the discussion should e-mail Legion Economic Division Deputy Director Mark Walker to arrange an RSVP.


  1. Comrades, Let me introduce you to a concept that is working in Southern California to assist homeless veterans. The 29th District Legion members and other service organization in conjunction with VA Hospital-Long Beach has a Partnership In Effective Recovery-PIER center. The is the only center on the West Coast and maybe the US where a homeless veterans can stop by the VA/PIER center take a shower, have their clothes washed, get a hot meal, assistance enrolling in the VA and get needed medical attention and entrance into a 4step recovery program with eventual placement in housing. The PIER center program will assist homeless Veterans to be on the road to self sufficency under the guidance of the VA medical staff. The mentoring Veterans are volunteers who have completed the 4step program and have the depth of personal experience to relate to their fellow Veterans. Assistance through mentoring and partnership is the solution. Clay Baxter Commander,29th Dist.
  2. Many homeless Veterans suffer from Post Tramatic Stress Syndrom. They aren't aware of programs available through their local VA Clinics. I recently went through a program at the San Francisco Clinic called PIOP. You have to be a war time Vet to qualify. If you are mentally distressed, addicted to drugs or Alcholic you will go to intensive care for Detoxification. Once you over come the illness that put you there, they will offer the PIOP program. It helps restore selfesteem, confidence and gives you the tools to cope with the outside world, relationships with others, to be able to find a job and a place to live. If you are homeless or the distance to the closest clinic to where you live is to far they will help you find a place to stay either in the clinic or in a near by boarding facility. Its great to be around people who really care and are concerned with your well being. Education is the key, help a Vet in need and pass along this information.
  3. I hope at the conference you think not only about our homeless brothers and sisters on the streets. We need to see the bigger problem we face today. Our Veterans coming home today that are going right onto the streets. We see every day with them landing on home soil just to find out all is going because of their money loss being called to active duty. We live in one of the largest homeless populations in the nation. So much for the weather in California. We see it as a growing problem each day. We have countless volunteer and state agencies trying to fill the needs but, coming up short. We as a nation need to see the plight of those who fight for the freedoms we have today are going thru. We Nam Vets need to see that what we came home to never happens again. We are the ones holding the torch today to help our brothers and sisters. Thank you for your Service to our Country and you Service to our Veterans. John Schuler ‘Top’ Director and Co-chair Central Valley Stand
  4. I am glad to see that this will be a topic for discussion in March, but, I wonder if it could not be a teleconference or web-linked, so that members across the fruited plains could tune in without flying to DC for a few hour meeting? In Boise, the VA hospital and the Boise Rescue Mission have created a partnership to provide homeless Vets transitional living with supportive services that, after it's first year of existence, has been very successful. I'd love to hear or participate in this Round Table, but to go to DC for a few hours is not in my budget. Thanks for listening. Bill Roscoe Executive Director, Boise Rescue Mission
  5. I myself have seen the growing numbers of homelss Vets. I believe the numbers in my local area to be over 500. I have only been with the Legion for 2 weeks now, but I have beeen working with homeless Vets, as I can, with my local charities and while I was in the active reserve (U.S.N.R.- Marine Corps FMF assigned Corpsman) and many years ago (The 80's) when I was an active duty Marine. This, as we all know, is a huge and growing problem and the Gov't cuts in Vet benefits that are upcomming are going to make this even worse. -God Bless you all for your efforts.
  6. Mark Walker: Thank you for your coordination efforts regarding this subject. The Department of New Jersey has a very vibrant project this year for homeless veterans, wherein we will furnish a new building addition (44 bedrooms and 12 treatment rooms and offices)for a homeless shelter owned by the Department of Military and Veterans affairs of NJ. We've collected $100,000 to date and will continue until June. Thanks again, Bob Looby.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.