A person sleeps on the sidewalk.
Photo courtesy of Mihály Köles/unsplash.com

It’s Tuesday, 8:30 in the morning, and I am at the VA Medical center in downtown Baltimore, and as I watch the new generation of veterans being checked in for treatment, I can’t help but notice how relieved a lot of them are to be back home again. They, of course, realize that it will be sometime before they begin to receive benefits and that they now have another war to face. A war of poverty and possibly homelessness. Many ask why people are homeless. Some of the reasons are the lack of affordable housing, loss of a job, disasters, health care issues, or in our veterans’ cases, no foundation to build upon. 

I am sure many vets did save a good amount of money while they were in the military, but it probably just wasn’t enough, and often even now, no amount of money is enough. The cost of living continues to go up and up; the Fair Housing Act needs to be enforced more vigorously; many housing lenders say they don’t discriminate, but research shows that a great majority of them do in fact discriminate in their loan making. 

Many veterans have a hard time trying to get affordable housing, even though the VA guarantees a veteran a home. The vet still has to meet certain qualifications in getting that home. So, what are the qualifications? Many people say that putting down $5,000 or so as a down payment will put you in the ballpark. But I have heard that even that amount of money often isn’t enough. 

So, I am asking just what is enough money to afford a decent place to live, and what does it take to find a well-paying job and keep that job? Is a college degree absolutely necessary? I might add that there are people with college degrees who are unemployed and homeless.  

So, tell me, do you really think that all that education will really make much difference? 

I am a veteran, having served in the military for 15 years, 10 years active and five years reserve. I am now formerly homeless. I own and operate my very own small business. I started my own business because it angered me to pound the pavement day after day looking for a job and getting no results in my job search. So, I decided to become my own boss. 

But as I see my fellow veterans struggle in their fight to succeed in this selfish cruel world, it hurts, it really does; to see my fellow veterans being treated the way the6y are these days, to see a homeless comrade really hurts. To see people just walk past him or her without even a simple hello, that is just downright ugly. 

OK, America, so you don’t know a certain person who passes by on the street. Allow me to ask you this question: are you afraid to get acquainted with this person or ashamed to be seen with him. The homeless are people, too, and even they have feelings. And your idea of putting the homeless in shelters and putting them out of sight in some far-off place where nobody has to be bothered with them is an inhuman way of thinking. 

In Atlanta, a person said the best way to get rid of homeless people is to kill them all. Tell me, D.C., is this the way that you feel? Tell me, Baltimore, is this the same way that you feel?  

For questions and comments on this article, please contact August Mallory, at [email protected]. Also, please listen to August on the More Betterman Show on WOL-AM 1450 for Voices from the Corner.