I just sent an email to my congressman in the House of Representatives to encourage him to support Representatives Julia Carson (D-IN) and Geoff Davis (R-KY) circulating “Dear Colleague” sign-on letter to the House Transportation and HUD Appropriations Subcommittee. This letter supports the inclusion of $1.8 billion for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in the FY 2008 appropriations bill. This request is $214 million above the President’s and $358 million over the FY 2007 level for McKinney.
I reminded him about the tent cities at our Vetern Administration hospitals and told him my story on how I had my first exposure to a young, homeless vet from the Iraqi war. I had never seen a vet so young, and not so much younger than me. He asked me for a dollar to buy pizza at the PX. I was so shocked at his age I didn't know how to respond. I gave him a five and had to walk away quickly because tears formed in my eyes. An older vet who saw the whole transaction and was walking in my direction said several times that I was 'good'. I didn't believe that. All I could think of was that I was a citizen of a country that was sending young kids to ruin their lives and then letting them rot in the streets. I didn't feel good.
I'll feel much better when we don't have so many vets and children living on the streets.