Sunday, November 8, 2015

Veteran's Day and the Homeless

I am a United States Air Force veteran. My father (deceased) was career Navy. My readers know how hard I advocate every day both for America and for Israel. My followers on Twitter know I am a relentless, no-holds-barred advocate for what I believe to be right.
Only those who pay very close attention know I am homeless.
I rarely write about it, but the fact is two years ago I was robbed of everything I had. I was in Washington, D.C., staying in a motel, preparing to take this fight public, when someone broke into it while I was at the store. Everything was gone. Identification, files, money, bank card, phone, etc. And because the number to my bank card was stored on my phone, by the time I found the number and called the company the card had been depleted. That quickly I was homeless. Now, to the casual observer, it sounds easy to recover. Pull up your bootstraps and march on, right? Well, ponder this:
You are not in the state where you reside, nor in the state where you were born. You have no identification, and no money by which to replace that identification. What do you do?
Well, it took a couple of weeks just to find a place that would pay for my birth certificate. It took two months for it to arrive by mail. I could not replace my driver's license because that cannot be done by mail, so I had to find someplace that would pay for a state ID, which took another month. Replace my social security card? Not without state ID! Get my VA identification back? Not without waiting another two months and finding yet another mailing address!
Meanwhile, what about food? Clothing? Never mind shelter. I tried the shelter routine. Here is how that works: You struggle to get things like shaving razors, snack food, and nail files. It gets cold, so you go to a shelter. Do you know what security does? THROW EVERYTHING IN THE TRASH. After all, I am homeless so necessarily I am mentally ill, drug-addicted, running from the law and homicidal (and of course the shelter does not want to attract ants). So, now I have to find the money to replace those items. No thanks.
People do not understand what it is like to be out here. They, like the security I just described, lump everyone into one category. Yes, a good majority of the people here have issues. But, some of us were just on a shoestring budget when fate struck and now we are in the black hole called "homelessness".
I did not join the Air Force for freebies. I was a starry-eyed patriot. I never even approached the VA for medical care until 30 years after my discharge. But I have to say, I resent Obama's promises to get homeless veterans off the streets by this year. Do not promise us anything unless you intend to deliver. Wednesday I cannot even take advantage of the offers restaurants are making for free meals for veterans because I still do not have my stolen VA ID replaced.
However, I know God will bring someone into my life to at least buy me a taco while I try to find a way out of this quagmire. I just hope maybe this post will open some of my reader's eyes to just how insane the situation is for hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans...and the many other non-veterans who are homeless but not insane, former felons, nor drug addicts.
So you ask, how am I online? It took months, but I saved up enough to buy a cheap laptop at Best Buy and WiFi is free in many places. I made a decision not to allow my personal circumstances to interfere with my advocacy. America and Israel are far more important than my personal comfort. So, while I cannot get paid work without an address nor a phone (nor a social security card), my work continues.
I guess I am still that starry-eyed patriot.
Happy Veteran's Day to all.