Moral Low Ground

Economy

Jericho Project Lends Helping Hand to Homeless War on Terror Vets

The Department of Veterans Affairs conservatively estimates that there are a staggering 9,000 homeless veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You read correctly. Despite all our bumper-sticker “support the troops” patriotism, our nation still allows thousands of young men and women who risked their lives fighting to promote Washington’s and Wall Street’s interests to return home to lives of poverty and homelessness.

“I think even if there’s one (homeless veteran), it should be a national outrage,” Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told ABC News. “I mean a day when it’s twenty degrees outside and the idea that some men or woman who got home from Iraq or Afghanistan maybe just a couple of months ago are homeless, that should outrage everybody in America.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder and a 20% unemployment rate are fueling the unconscionable rise in veteran homelessness. There are currently well over 200,000 military vets without a home in the United States, and the number is growing.

Some have channeled their shock and outrage into positive action. Inspired by the belief that transformation can occur in each individual, the non-profit Jericho Project is dedicated to providing safe housing and a supportive environment for homeless vets. Within three days of returning home from Iraq, Jose Pagan had nowhere to call home. Not anymore. “I have an apartment, and it was the first time, especially as a grown man that I’ve gotten a gift like this,” the decorated veteran told ABC. “It was an amazing feeling. I have a place. This is what I call, it’s my little home.”

The generosity and support provided by the Jericho Project is the silver lining on the very dark and shameful cloud of veteran homelessness.

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