Next month, the new Northwest Indiana Veterans Village is scheduled to open in Gary. The facility will provide free housing to homeless veterans and provide them with facilities and staff to aid them with everyday tasks.
This is a small but welcome piece of good news in the litany of bad news regarding American veterans in recent years. Aside from widespread homelessness, we hear so often about decreased VA funding, slashing of veterans’ benefits, inadequate aid for dealing with the physical and psychological damage they’ve suffered, and frequent suicides. For a country who holds the military in such high esteem, we sure aren’t very good at taking care of them after they have served.
Providing them with housing will not fix every problem our veterans face, but it’s certainly a good start toward bringing some stability back into their lives.
In fact, housing could not only help homeless veterans, but the homeless population in general.
About a decade ago, Utah started providing free permanent housing to homeless people in the state. Not only did this decrease homelessness in the state exponentially, but many of those boarders found work and became productive members of society. The simple stability of a place to stay was the breakthrough they needed.
In the wake of the Great Recession, many stereotypes about the homeless have been shattered. Regular families, devoted students, and even employed working people are among the homeless, as are plenty of veterans. Providing them with the stability of a place to live could greatly help them improve their lives, and moreover, it’s quite simply the humane thing to do.
Happy Memorial Day!