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Wanna bring in Jonathan Sharon because this is still along the lines what we were just talking about and and how difficult it is for veterans are veterans to re integrate.
Back into society Jonathan is with and and a wonderful organization volunteers of America they work.
With veterans on some of the challenges that they face when coming home.
And really that the number of challenges that these people -- -- it ranges from substance abuse to homelessness to.
So what else.
Oh well there's significant array reintegration challenges.
Some of which you had mentioned.
Some of which involve.
-- -- -- -- -- in addition to the challenges faced by the individual members the service members there are also significant challenges faced by.
Family and loved ones at home due to the large periods of separation.
And let's talk about the homelessness problem because it's absolutely heartbreaking to think.
That someone can go over and fight for our country.
And then they return home and they just sort of slipped through the cracks in these people wind up living on the streets.
Share these numbers there startling.
Well did the numbers did most accurate and comprehensive numbers come from the government from.
I had to estimate that on any given night.
Somewhere between sixty and 70000.
Veterans are homeless on the street and across the course of the year probably double that number.
Are homeless at some point during the year which is a significant number.
How is it that they slipped through the cracks is is that BA not doing a good enough job I mean what is it exactly.
Well there -- number of things as I had mentioned earlier there are substantial -- -- on the support systems for.
Service members when they're away and upon return there are lots of challenges challenges due to.
Both visible and invisible that are suffered overseas.
A challenging economy.
TVA's doing a lot these days -- -- -- and in particular there's a significant.
Effort that I'm noticing to use the system is outside of the government particularly the human service sector.
The nonprofit organizations.
To help support to complement what the government is doing and I think this is a critical.
Move because it allows us to capitalize.
On the core competencies.
That can provide services that are critical to -- integration outside of the government.
Like you have an organization like yours volunteers of America can you tell us what it is exactly that that your organization does the out reach that you were doing.
To this extremely valuable a group of our society.
Well -- -- is a big part of it.
But in addition to our -- we provide services.
Veterans that -- spanned from.
Emergency services to transitional housing to permanent housing we also provide a lot of outpatient type services counseling for.
Anger management for legal services for money management.
Marriage counseling these types of things all together really are important in order to maintain.
The adequate well being in order to.
You know pursue livelihood.
One of the things that I think is really important here is to recognize.
A large movement in this country which.
Really identifies veterans as the -- assets and leaders that they are these are individuals who have been very successful.
In their missions and when they return.
We need to recognize that and provide as many opportunities as we possibly can volunteers of America is doing that as are many other nonprofit organizations.
And big businesses by.
Recognizing talent identifying leaders.
And employing veterans who are also suffering as you know from significant unemployment rates at this time.
Yeah unemployment rates among veterans -- much higher than other parts of society and didn't you know that really really paints the picture.
It's interesting that you point out how valuable and how many skills they have because I did -- story when I was working out in Los Angeles UCLA the school of business there.
Had a special program for veterans and I interviewed the director of that program.
And they said that they were just absolutely amazed at at the skill set -- that obviously our troops have.
And and how common.
It is in for a lot of jobs here at home and so it's just trying to teach them how to apply what they've learned in the military.
To real world situations but there are a lot of very similar parallels.
Yet there are do.
The skills that are learned in the military to.
Civilian enterprises is not simple and there are a number of organizations that are working to develop paradigms to do that.
-- volunteers America we recognize the strength.
Service members looking out for each other and were in the midst of putting together a large program.
Through our affiliates.
Two capitalize on those talents in helping other veterans in the community who are not doing so well or who are struggling.
Getting access to the resources that they need.
Jonathan know what type of response have you -- personally received from the military I know talking to other.
Organizations that do this -- there they're just so grateful.
And I would imagine that you you get a lot of that is from this pretty rewarding.
Well it it is you know it's great to be able to serve other people.
Volunteers of America has been doing now for over a hundred years.
Getting feedback from the military from service members who have served this country is all that much more special.
As a psychiatrist that worked for a long time in the VA once I began serving veterans.
In that context.
It's really been.
Thanks impossible for me to provide.
Mental health services to.
And we should point out that you know this is not by any means to vast the Department of Veterans Affairs because that agency does a very good job.
With the resources in the funding that they have and they've just really become inundated because so many people have returned home from war.
But they have developed special clinics in certain facilities like in LA for example.
Dealing with PT SD post traumatic stress disorder something that many of our heroes and warriors return home.
And -- so so the veterans Department of Veterans Affairs.
Is doing a good job there's just such I need.
And I guess that's what you say you know -- that's why these these organizations like yours and and others are so valuable because you can all.
Worked together to serve a common purpose.
Yet lessons that that's tax exactly right.
That the need is tremendous this has been a ten year war that's been shouldered by a small part of the population.
The DA is doing it significant amount of work.
To develop programs for PT -- from for traumatic brain injury from military sexual trauma for suicide prevention.
I I think it's a very healthy sign that the VA.
Is moving towards a less proprietary relationship with veterans so that we as a country all of whom have a duty to participate.
In re integration.
Community reintegration by definition.
Needs to involve.
The community providers.
And grassroots efforts and volunteers and.
-- then also trying to hire more people because that's a common complaint you often hear about.
With veterans is that there is such a long wait time to get in for help to get an appointment.
And so the VA has worked to hire an increase staffing to try and -- and minimize those wait times that people.
Have to get and to get help.
Yeah that that's absolutely right the other thing here that I that I want to make clear is that.
As the community gets more involved in assisting and supplementing what the VA does the VA can really begin to focus.
More on its core.
Mission and the core mission of the VA is providing health care.
Over time due to that these new challenges -- three immigration.
The VA has I think in some ways had to take on.
It types of of care that really.
Can be provided elsewhere and that and that in some ways spreads thin.
Their ability to focus on.
Health care issues and access to services specifically.
For health care issues mental health issues.
Medical issues surgical issues an -- specialty issues.
One of the other missions of your organization is caring for these heroes but also showing Americans.
How important they are to society and I tell you what the military is near and dear to my heart I really do have the utmost respect.
For our service members and done you know it's it's just it's always touching if you're at the airport and you see.
You know one of these people walking through the airport in their fatigues and -- to say thank you and thank you for your service and that means so much I mean their faces.
Light up when you say that or or buying lunch for the for the person that that sitting.
And down down the line from you at the restaurant at the airport -- or just wherever just showing.
You're gratitude for what it is that they do.
Yes absolutely and I agree with you about seeing.
Service members in the airport the USO has really put together very fine network.
Of that -- is it airports that are specifically.
Dedicated to our service members and we're in the process of looking at opportunities and using that space in novel ways.
For -- political purpose.
And in general of the military civilian divide that we all talk about.
Really is something that limits our progress as a culture and it's fighting gauging.
Veterans -- -- active duty reserve guards and their family recognizing them as heroes.
In a very grassroots manner that that conversation can move forward and I think.
That sentiment is so strongly felt.
And that the infrastructure necessary is being built that we're gonna see some major movement and progress in that arena over the coming years.
Jonathan one last question I have for you and it's probably the most important if someone is watching us now and they want to help.
What can they do where can they go.
Well he did the major nonprofit providers around this country.
Generally have volunteer arms volunteers of America.
While our name would suggest for an entirely volunteer organization.
Actually has 161000 employees distributed across the country but we rely upon.
A volunteer corps to assist in all of our efforts so certainly.
Through our web -- there would be access to opportunities for anyone that wants to help.
And there are many other organizations points of light institute for example which is the largest volunteer organization.
On the planet.
So I would recommend for those who like to get engaged with on terrorism.
To look too large organizations.
Which provide opportunities of course there are also opportunities.
Within the VA we really would depend on what.
An individual would like to provide.
And what amount of time they have in terms of the type of activities they would be able to participate in.
You know and it doesn't have to be a lot I know that these are tough economic times for a lot of people but.
You know you'd be amazed at just how far five dollars ten dollars you know something like that goes or as we said.
A simple thank you when you see one of our service members and thanking them for.
For their service that that sure goes a long a long way.
Jonathan share an executive vice president of volunteers for America thank you very much and thank you for the work you're doing.
Thank you take care.
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