Americans have long venerated our courageous men and women in uniform. Serving selflessly and often in extreme or extraordinary circumstances for long periods of time, our servicemen and women deserve our respect for stepping up and doing what needs to be done.
However, tragically, it seems that when the uniform comes off, we often forget those yellow ribbons and “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers entirely. Though veteran homelessness has declined by 33% since 2010, there were still nearly 50,000 veterans who were homeless in January of this year.
We find this trend utterly heartbreaking. This is why we’ve partnered with Veterans United Network and an alliance of other organizations, such as the Columbia Veteran’s Homeless Shelter, Truman VA Hospital, Columbia Housing Authority, and Welcome Home, Inc. to help provide a new homeless shelter and several dozen new apartments here in Columbia, Missouri to help curtail veteran homelessness and provide adequate housing for our nation’s heroes.
It’s a small step in the grand scheme, but a huge one for this community and for the veterans who will be able to find shelter from the elements and get back on their feet financially and even emotionally. As a nation, it’s our responsibility to care for these servicemen and women who have sacrificed years of their lives in duty to their country and are now experiencing despair, loneliness, bitterness, physical illness, and even humiliation due to the epidemic of veteran homelessness nationwide. It’s difficult to not feel abandoned and taken for granted when being neglected on a street corner.
This is why organizations like Veterans United are so important to securing a healthy and successful future for our veterans. Their mission to end veteran homelessness is one that is close to all our hearts and we hope you’ll join us in providing for the futures of the veterans of our armed forces. The homeless shelter is expected to open at the end of 2015.