A Tribune Op-Ed
The following was originally published on April 22, 2017.
As a country, we're failing our military veterans.
From suicides to a high unemployment rate and a frustratingly persistent problem with homelessness, far too many of those who served us are not being served by us when they need help.
Despite heroic work by many, that's as true in northern Colorado as it across the country.
Recently, charitable agencies in Weld and Larimer counties have begun to work together collaboratively to tackle the issue of homelessness among vets in the region. The group started its effort this past year. In a little more than 12 months, the organization identified 261 homeless veterans in Weld and Larimer. They've managed to find places for 121 of them. From January through March this year, the group identified 43 homeless veterans and managed to house 28 of them.
We're glad to see many organizations in Weld trying to help veterans. The effort to coordinate services across county lines is a big step, and it's worthy of praise. Events such as the Veterans Stand Down Days, which bring together a host of services for veterans in need, offer an excellent example of some of the meaningful work that's being done.
But overall, as a society, the issue of homelessness among veterans highlights just how far we've fallen short. As a country, we've made the choice numerous times in living memory to send our soldiers to war, but we haven't made the choice to adequately take care of them when they return.
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