Veterans Without Homes

By: Shane Symolon Email
By: Shane Symolon Email

While Veterans Day honors the men and women who have fought or are fighting for our country, a recent report reveals a disturbing statistic.

The report says one out of every four homeless person in the country is a veteran. Staunton shelter workers say Virginia is close to the national average.

About one third of the people who come off the streets looking for help once served our country in the armed forces. That's one in three people, like veteran Tom Cochran, who come to Valley Missions in Staunton because they had no place to stay.

Cochran says, "This is where we eat every day."

He began going to Valley Mission after he lost his job, but he's not getting back on his feet. Beverly Robinson, manager at Valley Missions, says she sees a lot of veterans looking for a place at her shelter.

She says they're often fine when they first get out of the service, but they may have special needs.

"We're seeing older veterans who have used up their funds and they couldn't manage the mental health issues and substance abuse issues that were hidden for a while," says Robinson. "It starts to spiral."

Post Traumatic-Stress Syndrome is just one issue that can cause a veteran to lose a job. They can get stuck in the cycle of needing help, because getting help from the government is tough.

Robinson says, "We have a hard time connecting them to the services like Veterans Administration. The hospital is in Martinsburg."

However, some help maybe on the way. The state is looking to get additional funding for veterans, through a program called Turbo Vet.

Delegate Chris Saxman, R-20th District, says, "Some of the funding that can come from a program like Turbo Vet can be secured for veterans care centers like the one we just gave money for in Hampton Roads."

Workers say its a tough problem to solve, but the state is looking to lend a helping hand. Turbo Vet will go before the General Assembly next year. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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