First, Happy Thanksgiving to all NODDERS.
Secretary McDonald has instructed all VISNs to hold Town Halls. The purpose, according to this press release(10/4/14) is
“As part of our Road to Veterans Day, VA is taking a hard look at everything we do in order to reorganize the Department around the needs of Veterans. Direct feedback from Veterans, employees and stakeholders is an important component of that Roadmap, and key to improving our services and operations,”
VISN 4 (PA) is taking this seriously with lots of locations and dates. Fargo and Dakota VAs tag-team to offer only one NOV meeting held at an AMVET post in Bismark. That might make sense given the winter weather. Many VA town halls around the country seem to be scheduled at VA hospitals.
Poplar Bluff (MO) had good attendance at an earlier town hall but these will fizzle out of people and the media don’t attend. If all veterans were entitled to request that an advocate/social worker assigned to them, someone they could call, perhaps some incidents of medical/social neglect could be avoided. Here is one happy story about a homeless Korean veteran who received help and SC after VA social workers got involved, treated him as an ill person, and not a case to be filed away and forgotten.
Will veteran maltreatment, in particular veteran homelessness, be addressed after VA town halls? Homelessness for all demographics continues to be a major problem in the United States. I don’t believe that government agencies, subject to political whims such as shutdowns, will get everyone who wants to be housed, housed. All of us who have some sort of roof over our heads, heat, and food in our stomachs, know that we have a lot to be thankful for.