Our military veterans are often coming home to terrible conditions. How do we solve this problem? I believe an innovative approach can not only solve the problem but do it at zero net cost.
First, to set up the problem you can watch this video put out by Five Finger Death Punch on the problem.
Some of the statistics are here:
300,000 homeless veterans sleeping on the streets and this number is growing
67% of them served 3 years or more
over 1.4 million Vets are at risk of becoming homeless
Homeless Vets spend an average of 6 years on the streets
Nearly 5000 Vets commit suicide each year
Now that we know more about the problem, what is the solution? I believe a careful look at the assets veterans have and opportunities that are available leads to a solid solution that can pay for itself once started.
First, while unemployment is quite high right now, we actually have a labor shortage at the same time. The labor shortage is in skilled trades such as welder and diesel mechanic. This has been called a skills gap by Mike Rowe who has campaigned extensively to help people get into these good jobs. His website can be found here:
So there are jobs available that we could use, and according to Mike Rowes website, there are 3 million jobs available. This is more than enough to give a job to every Homeless Vet, and even all of the Vets that are at risk as well.
This is our first asset.
The problem is we need more than just this. The reason many of these Vets are homeless is because they don't have skills that match a civilian economy. If they had those skills they would already have one of those jobs. So we need a way to train our homeless vets cheaply, and a way to pay for it. What other assets do we have available that would make this possible? Let me say here that I don't believe Vets need charity. They are tough and capable men and women who are capable of working very hard under a lot of stress. These people don't need handouts. What they need is some investment in their potential.
Our next asset will be the Vets themselves. Their work ethic and ability to perform under stress are valuable assets in the business world. Employers complain about employees who don't have those qualities, so they are clearly valuable qualities. Vets may not have skills that are usable in the civilian workforce, but they HAVE developed themselves through their training and hard work. Their time is our third asset. A homeless man has nothing but time, but he DOES have at least his time. A homeless man has nowhere to go but up, so we can house them in literally ANYTHING and it will be a step up. This is another advantage.
Now lets try putting our assets together into a full fledged plan.
What we need is cheap housing and food, and an affordable vocational school to train the Vets in a variety of skills.
Then we take homeless Vets off the street and put them up in our housing. We train them while giving them free room and board. After training we start getting them jobs. We use temp work if we need to but as much as we can we will go for full time employment. We will then take a percentage of their paycheck till they repay our original investment. Once we extract out our investment we can go on to help the next veteran.
This plan is mostly copied from an existing system used to combat poverty in developing countries by one of the christian churches here in the USA. That plan is called the perpetual education fund, and you can see more here: