|Photo from VeteransInfo.org|
Posted originally in the Norwich Bulletin
In his Sunday column (“Vet homelessness claims in conflict“), Bulletin Opinion Page Editor Brendan Cox acknowledged he did not attend my
conference on homeless veterans in .
He also failed to contact me or any of the nonprofit groups represented at the
event. If he’d had the whole picture, he might have called out the politicians
on their definitive, unconditional statements about “ending” veteran
homelessness, as well. Connecticut
In a Feb. 18 press release put out by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, stated he’s “proud” we are the second state to “officially end veteran homelessness.” This is not a qualified statement. To date, Courtney has not challenged Malloy’s statements about ending homelessness for our servicemen and women. Our congressman has remained silent.
A day later on Twitter, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., added, “
eliminated homelessness for #veterans in our state.” This is also a definitive,
unconditional statement. There is no room to interpret what he stated. Connecticut
The Obama administration redefined chronic homelessness to exclude those living outdoors and under bridges for 11 months of the year. Amazingly,
saw an immediate drop in chronic veteran homeless statistics. The only place
they disappeared from is the statistics. Connecticut
Our elected officials have pushed our veterans into the shadows. Why? Don’t our veterans deserve better?
As someone who has worked with veterans my entire life, who is the daughter of a vet and who married one, I am outraged our politicians put out press releases sweeping our homeless vets under the rug by failing to acknowledge their existence. This leads the general public to believe there is no longer an issue of homelessness affecting our veterans.
Recently I was approached by a homeless vet asking to be heard. I listened to his story; one I have heard too often. If you know me, you know I am not very good at sitting back and accepting blindly what politicians tell me is the truth. So, I did my research and found out the facts directly from those in
One nonprofit working to find vets jobs estimated we have more than 1,200 in the state. When I spoke directly with the manager of the South Park Inn in
he told me that for the last few years, the organization has taken in
approximately 150 homeless vets a year. Hartford
I am very grateful for the wonderful people who are helping and the progress we are making toward eliminating veteran homelessness in
, but our
work is not close to being done. Connecticut
When the Obama administration proclaimed and certified CT free of homeless vets, our CT politicians accepted the accolades for the “accomplishment,” and through this shortsightedness they did a disservice by sweeping those vets who remain homeless under the carpet. No one should be afraid to call out our politicians when they deserve it. When I am elected to Congress, I will continue to fight for all our vets until the problems are corrected and beyond.
Daria Novak, a Republican, is running for Congress in Connecticut's 2nd District.