This week, while some communities were still cleaning up after Hurricane Irene, we also paused to reflect on the six year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana.
Those unaffected by Katrina may be surprised to learn that many people who lost their homes as a result of the hurricane are still living in makeshift homes and abandoned buildings. Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, said this week that coming together to help after disasters “is what being a nation is about.” I couldn’t agree more that as a nation we need to make sure that those still recovering from Katrina, the tornados in Joplin, and other disasters receive the help they need, and that we are prepared for a disaster before it strikes.
The state of our veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were also heavily discussed in the news this week, due to a speech President Obama gave at the American Legion national convention on Tuesday. In this address, the president discussed the federal government’s commitment to better support veterans when they return home, noting “that includes making sure that federal agencies are working together so that every veteran who fought for America has a home in America.” He also pledged to protect programs that assist veterans from budget cuts.
“We cannot, will not, and we must not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans,” Obama said.
Also of note: NPR launched a series on female veterans transitioning to civilian life this week. In the last couple years, there’s been some discussion of the rise in female veterans experiencing homelessness. In our previous veteran reports, we noted that females veterans can experience high risk of homelessness than their male counterparts as female veterans are more likely to earn less money than males upon returning to veteran life, be single parents with children, and experience severe housing cost burden.
Without question, there are more females serving in the armed forces than there have been in the past and we can – and will – work to meet their specific needs as they transition back into civilian life.