While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may have a good deal of work yet to do (or, to begin) in order to right the ship after the revelation that breakdowns in its hospitals and clinics proved fatal for at least 40 veterans, it has taken one small step that could prove to be important for homeless military veterans and their families in West Virginia.
More than $2.6 million in grants from the department will go to outreach groups and veterans centers in order to help with case management and education about getting Veterans Affairs and other public benefits. The money can also be used to help with rentals, utilities and even moving costs.
And so, the West Virginia Community Action Partnerships, the Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center – in Cabell, Kanawha and Wayne counties, and Helping Heroes and the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless – serving the Northern Panhandle, will receive much-needed grant funding to begin to do right by the folks who have done so much for their country.
As has been pointed out time and again, West Virginians answer the call to military service at a higher rate than residents of almost every other state. When they return to West Virginia, they face an uncertain economic climate, an overwhelmed health care system – including the one provided specifically for them, and, to some degree, a culture that does not always make it easy for them to seek or get the help they deserve from the rest of us.
Mary Chipps, executive director of the West Virginia Community Action Partnerships, called the funding “crucial.”
It is nothing close to the level of help these brave men and women deserve, as the sacrifice they made continues to take its toll. But every little bit counts, and for some, it may be just the little bit they need.