Vet article needs clarifying

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The Augusta Chronicle article on homeless veterans that appeared Aug. 18 (“The battle to find home”) is not entirely accurate.

There are not 300 homeless veterans in Augusta. That number was not given attribution, but the official count provided to the Department of Housing and Urban Development during this year’s point-in-time count is 16 for Columbia and Richmond counties.

Unofficially, the Augusta Warrior Project knows of six veterans who transit the shelters or streets. Two of the three veterans interviewed for the story have been supported by us, but apparently chose not to reveal their whole stories to the writer.

One of the homeless veterans interviewed expressed the desire to move home to another state and not be housed here. The other veteran has been verbally and physically abusive to the Veterans Administration and to our staff. We do not engage with him, unless we are on VA property and supervised. This veteran has full access to VA mental and physical care, if he chooses to receive care. This veteran is the perfect candidate for the long-term treatment facility Freedom’s Path.

The writer of the article never called us as part of the research for the article. Conspicuously missing from the article was any reference to the national program funded through the VA: Supportive Services for Veterans and Families, a massive grant that has made huge inroads in solving the problem of veteran homelessness. In Augusta, the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority holds this grant, and the Augusta Warrior Project provides the outreach and other services.

If the writer had called us, we would have told him that in the past 18 months Augusta’s homeless veteran population has plummeted from 195 to 16 – unmatched nationwide, thanks to the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veterans and Families grant.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is doing a great job with homelessness, and currently has six housing vouchers available for homeless veterans who are seeking and qualify for assistance. We also could have pointed to Habitat for Humanity, which this month is presenting a house to a veteran; and to Turn Back the Block, which in recent months has worked closely with us to get a house for another veteran.

Homelessness is a complicated problem, often exacerbated by mental illness, joblessness, credit problems, etc. The Augusta Warrior Project serves veterans holistically with all the services necessary to restore them to a full life.

The Augusta Warrior Project is working with Freedom’s Path. We need this facility for those who never will normally re-enter society. There is a need, there is the interest and there are the facilities. What should be investigated is what is taking so long to fund this essential project.

James Lorraine

Augusta

(The writer is executive director of the Augusta Warrior Project.)

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myfather15
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myfather15 08/23/13 - 05:21 am
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Very interesting!!

I remember reading this article and thinking to myself, that is a huge number of homeless vets; and it sounded very bad!! Like we were not taking care of our veterans!! There is great disparity in the numbers 300 and 6!!! I find it hard to believe this was a simple mistake, with this margin of error!! Either the writer had no clue and did no research on what they were writing about, or they were being deceitful!!

My personal opinion, would be this author was being deceitful!! Probably in an attempt to again, bash Americans for not taking care of veterans!! I say this because I've seen this MANY times!! The old "We are an evil, greedy Country who doesn't even care about those who've fought for us." When nothing could be farther from the truth!!

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 08/23/13 - 06:41 am
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Myfather, you are most likely
Unpublished

Myfather, you are most likely correct. It would be nice to see some data to back up the 300 claim.

==edit
hmmm...a thumbs down. So someone is opposed to backing up claims with facts? It would be interesting for the person giving the TSD to have the courage to explain why......I won't hold my breath.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/23/13 - 08:00 am
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Source

The letter writer brings up a good point. Here is the quote from Sunday's Chronicle story:

By the federal government’s standards, the 51-year-old is a homeless veteran, one of about 300 in the Augusta area known to sleep in woods, under bridges and in boarded-up houses.

The story was written by Wesley Brown, a fairly new staff writer for The Chronicle. The editors owe us an explanation where reporter Brown got his information. Here is the link to the story:

Wesley Brown

oldredneckman96
5115
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oldredneckman96 08/23/13 - 08:29 am
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Pendleton Camp for Veterans
Unpublished

Pendleton Camp for Veterans

On April 5th, 1922, in Richmond County, Georgia, a Henry B. King set in a Declaration of Trust, a 20 acre tract to be known as Pendleton Camp. This was a memorial to his son, John Pendleton King who had been killed in WWI in France. This camp was to benefit the wounded and disabled soldiers who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces. For many years, a Clarence T. Barinowski, a Carlon S. Faulk and Virginia Lehmann were members of the Board of Directors of Pendleton Camp. They did a great job of placing those deserving in the homes and maintaining the grounds and keeping the city of Augusta from taking the property. However, by 1995 a new group of trustees were evicting the last of the veterans and families who had lived there. The Law Firm of Fulcher, Hagler, Reed, Hanks and Harper was apparently running the Camp.
Now, as we all know, there are many veterans needing a home, while Pendleton Camp is occupied by fewer than a half dozen or so homes and a Memorial lot with a placard on a stone explaining the Camp. There you will find a flagpole that my grand-uncle raised old Glory on everyday from his return from WWI to his end in the 70’s, sadly, it is now never raised. When you turn off Wrightsborro Road and head south on Johns Road, in just a block or so you will find Johns Road Ext./Mame Road on the right. Do not let the “Private” “Keep Out” signs stop you, it is a public road. Pendleton Camp is as public as the Pendleton King Park just a few blocks away on Troup Street both named for the same John Pendleton King for many reasons.
I write this to let the veterans of Augusta know about this place and what it was for. It will take someone with a bit of legal knowledge and a lot of “don’t quit” attitude to put it back to its intended use.
Good Luck and thank you for your service.

daphne3520
950
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daphne3520 08/23/13 - 09:56 am
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KNOW this: To be a writer for the AC, one's
Unpublished

I.Q., MUST exceed one's shoe size!!!!!!!

Darby
28401
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Darby 08/23/13 - 02:26 pm
5
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HA - What is it with you and your fascination

with logic, facts, common sense and truth?

That's just not the world we live in right now.

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 08/23/13 - 03:18 pm
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I can't help it.....it's an
Unpublished

I can't help it.....it's an illness.

Dixieman
16595
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Dixieman 08/23/13 - 07:05 pm
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Other than that, the story was accurate

Reporters these days don't dig deeper or do any research or seek out opposing points of view - they just parrot what people tell them. This reminds me of a story a few years ago, in about 2005, in the Athens paper about a guy who said he was 45 and a disturbed Vietnam veteran -- simple math showed that he was 13 when the last American troops left Vietnam in 1973 but the reporter fell for it.

Now here the AC headlines the wonderful letter as "Vet article needs clarifying". No. "Vet article was inaccurate and wrong on major aspects of story" would be more like it.

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