Friday, February 11, 2011

Children taken into custody, homelessness (vet issues)

Melissa Evans (Daily Breeze) reports, "A San Pedro boy whose father is set to leave for Iraq was placed under involuntary psychiatric care by county officials this week after threatening to commit suicide, his mother said." His 'suicidal behavior' apparently including drawing a picture of stick figures and zombies with the word "help" on it. KTLA explains that Syndi Dorman's son is six-years-old and put on "a 720hour psychiatric hold" and she explains that now her "son doesn't want to go back to school. He's afraid they're going to take him away again." So a 6-year-old is upset because his father is about to deploy again and the school thinks the answer is to put him away for 72-hours as his father's about to deploy?

In other veterans news, William M. Welch (USA Today) reports that another study has found veterans are at greater risk of becoming homeless and that, in 2009, "136,334 veterans spent at least one night in a homeless shelter -- a count that did not include homeless veterans living on the streets." Rhonda Pence (Press TV, link has text and video)adds, "The urgency of the problem is growing as more men and women return from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. More younger veterans aged 18 to 30 are spending time in shelters."

Yesterday the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee issued this:

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman, Senator Patty Murray, released the following statement on the joint report from the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development's on veterans homelessness which was released today.

"I commend the Obama Administration for taking real steps to shine a light on a problem that has for too long been ignored. For too long homeless veterans have been forgotten heroes. But this report provides an important foundation to better understand who these veterans are, the nature of the problems they face, and how to develop solutions to address their needs. This is a critical piece of the Obama Administration's laudable effort to prevent and end homelessness among veterans.

"What this report shows is a stark and finally more accurate picture of this serious issue. It shows that the disabilities and mental health challenges facing many of our nation's veterans put many of them, particularly those living in poverty, at greater risk of homelessness. It also shows that current economic conditions and the influx of young veterans are putting many more of our veterans at risk of homelessness."

"What this report calls on all of us to do is clear - more. We need to build on the work we have begun. With the HUD-VASH program that I restarted in 2008 we have been able to provide vouchers and supportive services for those who have sacrificed for our nation but are now homeless. We need to continue this program that has proven its worth.

"But we also need to do more to prevent veteran homelessness before it starts. That means prevention programs like the pilot program I worked with my colleagues to create near some of our nation's military installations. Prevention also includes focusing on getting our veterans into stable employment. We need to help veterans translate the skills and expertise they learned on the battlefield into the skills needed in today's working world.

"We also need the Administration to continue to come together as they have with this report. If we are going to bring veterans off the streets and into steady housing and employment we need VA, HUD, and the Department of Labor to continue working together. I look forward to working with all of these agencies, as well as the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness to put forth innovative and effective solutions to get our veterans into safe, secure, and stable housing."

As Chairman of the Senate Housing Appropriations Committee and the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Murray has initiated and passed into law critical help for homeless veterans including the
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program which provides housing vouchers and supportive services for homeless veterans and the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration (VHPD) program which provides housing, health and other supportive services at areas adjacent to military installations to help prevent homelessness. Both programs were cited by today's report as critical sources of help for homeless veterans.

Today's report shows that female veterans are twice as likely to be represented in the homeless population as they are to be the U.S. adult female population. Last Congress, Public Law 111-275, Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010, included provisions derived from legislation introduced by Chairman Murray which provides new support for
homeless women veterans reintegrating into the workforce.

Chairman Murray has also introduced
veterans jobs legislation that aims to reduce a rising unemployment rate among returning veterans.

Yesterday Oxfam published the report "Whose Aid Is It Anyway?" and AFP notes, "The non-profit group Oxfam said on Thursday that major powers were concentrating too much aid on countries for political and military reasons and were overlooking other severe crises. The aid organisation said billions of dollars had been used for "unsustainable, expensive and sometimes dangerous aid projects" supporting short-term foreign policy and security objectives. Oxfam particularly highlighted tens of billions of dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade."

The following community sites -- plus, Military Families Speak Out and Jane Fonda -- updated last night:

And we'll close with this from "Rendition: America's Torturers for Hire in Egypt" (Revolution via World Can't Wait):

At a February 4 press conference, U.S. President Barack Obama said about the Mubarak government's response to the protests, "Suppression is not going to work. Engaging in violence is not going to work."
Obama and other U.S. officials are now condemning the thuggish nature of the Mubarak regime—but the indisputable fact is that the U.S. has long relied on Mubarak and other oppressive regimes in the region to commit numerous savage crimes.
One example is the torture that they have carried out in relation to rendition by the U.S.—the CIA practice of kidnapping people outside the U.S. (without any charges and often without the knowledge of the authorities where the kidnapping takes place) and shipping them off to a third country, where they are handed over to the torturers in secret prisons.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends