- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Dr. Ellen L. Bassuk’s recent column hits on a key vulnerability for our returning veterans - the shortage of effective social services and networks available to them when they return home (“How can we end homelessness among returning war veterans?” Sunday).

Veterans face enormous challenges as they reintegrate into society - from finding employment to addressing physical, mental or emotional injuries - and require support to ensure they don’t fall through the cracks. With veterans comprising one-third of the homeless population and a new generation of veterans coming home, it is clear that we must do more.

While the Department of Veterans Affairs has been working steadily to improve the services it provides, such as its $3.2 billion homelessness initiative, we still are seeing increasing levels of homelessness, substance use and - worst of all - suicide. As a country, we must commit to putting an end to these problems so that our service members, who have sacrificed so much, do not continue to struggle alone when they return home.

JAMES R. KNICKMAN

President and chief executive officer

New York State Health Foundation

New York City

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