Part Four-When Will The Nightmares End For Our Veteran Community? (Mixing in the Drug Infested Environment)
Why is it, that when our government trains our military personnel to defend this great nation, the veterans who sacrifice so much, our fathers, brothers, sisters, and mothers are just abandoned, and thrown out to fend for themselves in numerous heartbreaking situations? Why is it that so many veteran help organizations rake in the donations of good people’s money only to allow the abuse, neglect, and hardship from the streets to continue in their more concentrated facilities, and no one wants to hear about it, especially politicians at the local, state and federal levels? Where do our veterans’ rate; abused animals get more attention from the public.
So far in this series, we have shown you the testimony of an honored veteran, Garrett Jester, who is sharing his experience with all of America, the horrible environment filled with filth and lack of resemblance of anything healthy or safe. A homeless veteran selflessly being a whistleblower of the maltreatment and conditions of homeless veterans that seem to be supported by the Veterans Administration through the U.S.vets organization. We saw the evidence. Mr. Jester holds the videos, audios, and photos of proof to all he is sharing here, and making it public on his Twitter page. These are not the perspectives of continuethemission.net, but putting on paper Mr. Jester’s and others’ experiences, this is as they lived it, and are now sharing their story.
The “street environment” being allowed to thrive inside these facilities that is supposed to be “sheltered” from the veterans is terrifying to say the least. There is no vendetta against the VA or U.S.vets, Jester is only reporting experiences in hopes that other veterans do not have to live this reality. If anything, Mr. Jester says, this is a call out to anyone who will listen, who will check on these details themselves.
We hear of crime within the street environment all over the world. We know that it is a place where addicting drugs and alcohol and many other related ‘gghghjdf’’h’crimes take place, and it is exactly what we need to get our veterans away from, especially those dealing with physical and mental needs that could lead to addicting behaviors. I spoke with a couple of other homeless veterans who have also lived and live in the same U.S.vets facility, one before Mr. Jester lived there and one after. When I asked them the simple question “Are there drugs at the facility?” A U.S. Army veteran, (we will call Sarge), who is a Vietnam era veteran that served from 1975 to 1978, a disabled quadriplegic that is categorized as catastrophically disabled, currently homeless and staying at a different shelter said, “There is alcohol, weed, meth, crack, cush, heroin, spice, narcotics of all kinds prescribed by the VA that is rampantly being used and pushed by dealers throughout the facility.” He went on to say, “I got to the facility when it first opened and all was good at first, but then homeless tents surrounded the perimeter, rats and cats became way overpopulated, and pushers and prostitutes would bang on your doors at all hours of the night.”
I stopped him and told him I didn’t understand, how were non-veterans allowed in the facility? Then both Sarge and Mr. Jester explained that the “facility” are two buildings on one property with multiple rooms. The oldest building has parts of it leased by U.S.vets from a company called Cloudbreak out of California, http://www.cloudbreakcommunities.com a partnership, which is in several states. Furthermore, Mr. Jester explained that there are 25 rooms least from cloud break for one program and 54 more in another, both housing temporary and long-term programs within U.S.vets, but overall there are approximately 500 residents from all demographics there, of which only about 60 veterans live there. I was dumbfounded, so I asked Sarge, who is a long-term resident there, “Why did you leave? He said, “After a few months they put in security and did drug screenings but that only lasted a little while, then both were gone and drugs and prostitutes began to flourish there, I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to say something. It just seemed that the openness didn’t matter anymore. There was even a suicide while I was there, a man jumped from the roof.” He continued, “Once everyone began to flow in and mix within the facility, after 7 years of paying rent on time, and I complained about the drugs and other crimes, I just had to leave. Then when I needed to come back for help again, Cloudbreak said I was banned.”
Sarge stated, “Why would anyone put a drug dealer next door or above our veterans within a facility that is vulnerable to feeding addictions, or worse yet, start addictions for the first time due to the environment they are thriving in?” Good point and most would say common sense says that is the whole idea of the word “shelter”, is to shelter the veterans from the homeless environment.
Yet it continues, years after, with no one knowing these life-draining experiences our veterans are going through. Do you think they put any effort into stopping this? You would be mostly wrong. All of the veterans report that they are warned when an inspection is coming and given a list of things to have out of their rooms on the date of the inspection. Only to be allowed to bring all contraband back in hours after the inspection is over. (See flier and document below of a U.S.vets quick guide.) Is anything ever done? No most issues are swept under the rug.
Mr. Jester has an entire audio communication with the Director of this U.S.vets facility where you can hear the Director state the truth in these reports, as he acknowledges a homeless veteran who gradually has gotten worse after every time spent at his facility, so much so, that he believes he is now suicidal and can’t really do anything for him. So he probably will not allow him back in. The Director says that over a three year span he has seen veterans who have no addiction that becomes addicted while at his facility. In other words, it seems he understands that his facility is enabling a cause and being the source of a worsening situation of our veterans. Then from the perspective of the veterans, those in charge of the program have washed their hands of what they have made worse.
Another Veteran in the facility we will call “Buddy”, stated that all the drugs and prostitution still exist along with the filth and poor treatment. He said he was threatened by a man with a hammer, intimidated and hounded on a daily and nightly basis, by the same man. Buddy was constantly told by staff to put in a grievance, and when he did, Buddy said the staff told the man that he had reported him. Really? They placed Buddy at greater risk because, as he put it, “staff either have favorites or are scared of these people themselves.” Afterwards, Buddy was harassed continually, woken up by the drugging and prostitutes brought in by his roommate.
Staff got another resident veteran to go and shield Buddy from this man as he moved his belongings out of the room, because they were not comfortable assisting him, and flat out refused to help him in the matter, which also put other veterans at risk. Veteran residents say it is like living in a prison environment. Buddy and others who suffer from PTSD, bipolar, depression, and other ailments need “shelter” from these kinds of street stressors that are brought to them. It is no wonder we have a larger veteran suicide rate in America today than any other demographic. (Read the first article in this series.)
These facilities through VA programs get about 242 dollars a day, which is around $3000.00 a month per person. Mr. Jester reported that there are about 500 residents there. If we take just the 60 veterans in the GDP program, we are talking in the neighborhood of $180,000 minimum a month just at this one facility in Houston. According to Mr. Jester, it is not even counting in the program fees that the veterans themselves have to pay. That’s right, they pay 30% of their SS, disability or up to $200.00, which is an additional 12,000.00 a month. Read those numbers again, and take a look at the previous articles in this series.
“Charlie Mike” (Continue the Mission)