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Homelessness on Wheels: 25 Mobile Units, 33,000 Veterans; Can the Math Add Up?

Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs were thrilled to announce on Thursday their groundbreaking plan to deploy a whopping 25 mobile medical units to cities across the United States in the next six months. Brace yourselves, folks, because they're rolling out this initiative to "enhance" homelessness prevention and assistance efforts for veterans, according to Military Times.

Because, you know, 25 measly units will definitely solve the massive issue of veteran homelessness in our great nation. Way to go, VA! They clearly understand that a little token gesture is all it takes to address a problem that has plagued our veterans for decades. I don't know about you, but I am beyond impressed with their innovative solution. Kudos to the VA for their unwavering commitment to making such a significant impact... or not.

It's been reported that the first unit has already arrived in Orlando, Florida, and these vehicles will be equipped with medical staff capable of providing a range of services to veterans, including primary care, mental health assistance, and telehealth services.

These mobile units have been used for disaster relief and to aid rural veterans' healthcare enrollment in the past. They claim the units will help achieve the department's goal of finding housing for 38,000 veterans this year and providing them with necessary support services.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough highlighted that homeless veterans often face difficulties accessing healthcare due to transportation challenges. Still, the new mobile medical units will address this issue by bringing medical care directly to them.

They also claim the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has decreased by more than 11% from 2020 to 2022. There are still around 33,000 veterans without reliable housing options on any given night in America.

Some concerns have been raised by advocates over a potential increase in this number due to the rollback of services aimed at homeless veterans after the end of the national emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-May.

Among these services was reduced daily support stipends for veterans facing financial problems. This resulted in non-profits needing help finding funds to shelter veterans. Restoring these authorities would require action from Congress.

Still, negotiations have been hampered by various partisan disputes over the federal budget. However, the mobile medical units' deployment can be done without congressional approval.

These 25 medical units will complement the 83 mobile veteran centers deployed across the country, offering veterans more convenient access to counseling and benefits services.

Doni Anthony (Doni The Don)

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