Sign the letter to Bill O'Reilly demanding he apologize to the "non-existent" homeless vets here.
To Bill O'Reilly: Homeless veterans exist. I met some.
In a previous post, I wrote about Bill O’Reilly’s bizarre assertion that there are no homeless veterans in America. He made this claim on January 4, 2008 while talking about a speech by John Edwards where Edwards said that 200,000 vets are homeless on any given night in America. BOR continued to deny the existence of homeless veterans on January 16, 2008 during an interview with radio host Ed Schultz. This time, he added a caveat that if there are homeless veterans, “there aren’t many of them out there”. You can see both clips for yourself and read transcripts here, since I’m sure you’ll soon be hearing BOR complain, as he always does when he’s criticized for something he said, that he has been “taken out of context.” The context of these unedited clips is quite clear.
On both occasions, BOR was either ignorant to or consciously ignoring a recent study from the National Alliance to End Homelessness (using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau) that found:
In 2006, approximately 195,827 veterans were homeless on a given night — an increase of 0.8 percent from 194,254 in 2005. More veterans experience homelessness over the course of the year. We estimate that 336,627 were homeless in 2006.
Either that or BOR believes that 195,827 homeless veterans (and that number is surely low) is a small enough number of homeless veterans as to be insignificant. I have no idea what number of homeless veterans BOR considers to be “many” — 195,827 homeless veterans certainly seems like a lot to me.
BOR said that he couldn’t find any homeless veterans. Maybe he wasn’t looking in the right places. It took me less than a day to find several hundred.
I went to U.S. Vets in Inglewood, California. US Vets is the largest non-profit organization in the US dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk veterans with temporary housing, counseling, and employment assistance. The facility currently houses up to 500 homeless veterans.
I talked to over a dozen homeless vets, some who had served as far back as the Korean War, and showed them the clips of BOR denying or dismissing their existence. The reactions to the clips were quite similar — a shaking of the head in disbelief, a derisive chuckle or snort, and a deep sigh when the videos were over. Some of the veterans couldn’t believe that anyone could be so clueless and naïve, while others wondered why BOR hadn’t bothered to do any research before making such a dubious claim. Twice.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to have sacrificed so much in service to your country, then to come home to find that the country you served has no interest in re-integrating you back into society. Then you can’t get a place to live because you don’t have a job, and you can’t get a job because you don’t have a place to live. Then some idiot with a TV show gets up in front of an audience of millions and says that you do not exist. Twice.
Let me be very clear: the veterans in this video are homeless. Soldiers are trained to adapt and survive, and many have adapted so they can survive being homeless. The men in the video may not be pushing shopping carts or sleeping out on the streets dressed in rags, but they are homeless. Through the work of U.S. Vets and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, these men have roofs over their heads, food, counseling, and a support system, but they are homeless. They have a temporary place to stay, but they do not have homes.
These veterans are homeless, they exist, and no matter what BOR says, there are way too many of them. These are proud men and women who need help and are often reluctant to ask for it. They do not need BOR saying that they do not exist or that there are so few of them that they don’t matter.
FOX ATTACKS! “Non-Existent” Veterans only scratches the surface of the afternoon I spent at U.S. Vets. I plan to complete a longer video very soon that will include more of the interviews with these amazing people. It was an honor and a privilege to be in their presence and to hear what they had to say.
If you would like to learn more about U.S. Vets and make a donation, go to USVetsinc.org.