Tuesday, October 20, 2020

How to help our homeless veterans

| September 18, 2020 1:00 AM

Roy Jepsen is a man worth listening to.

Rather than just complain about an issue like the homelessness of veterans — people who should be on society’s pedestal rather than in its pits — Jepsen offers some solutions. And they’re so obvious that you wonder why little or nothing has been done about it, especially because it’s a subject that has come up fairly often over the years.

With homeless veterans numbering at least 40,000, and likely many, many more, why not use abandoned or underperforming military bases for them and their families?

Applying many skills they learned in the military and elsewhere in life, veterans could help bring neglected facilities up to snuff, with clean and comfortable barracks for singles and military housing for families. They could help cook the meals, keep the grounds ship-shape, handle maintenance of all kinds and even provide security.

That approach, we believe, might go a long way in restoring a sense of value and dignity in these men and women who have reached rock bottom. By living on bases, counseling and continuing education could be streamlined and delivered easily. Not only would survivability increase dramatically, but quality of life would be significantly enhanced.

There’s also this: Many homeless have essentially dropped out of society. Living in a community with many who have faced the same or similar challenges might do a world of good for those who have forgotten that we’re all inherently social beings.

While this subject does come up from time to time, there’s no time like the present to build momentum and turn a good idea into reality. Please contact your members of Congress to see what can be done to reverse the neglect of some of our most prized citizens. This seems like a moral imperative, not just a practical solution.

We also appreciate the military service Jepsen rendered to his country and are glad he lives among us these days. The 79-year-old’s combination of guts, compassion and communication should be emulated by the elected officials who can make this happen.