Forget about Occupy Wall Street. My readers and other Veteran Advocates nationwide say “Occupy HUD” and ask how many Iraqi or Afghanistan Combat Wounded Veterans Live in HUD Subsidized or Disability Housing?
by Ken Smith
My readers don’t want opinions Mr. Secretary, they want facts. Facts don’t lie. Why wouldn’t Veterans be of interest to you? Aren’t Veterans deserving Americans too? The Veterans disability community wants to know the truth Shawn. Occupy HUD has opened a new online petition, anyone can sign it http://petitionbureau.org/occupyhud/
Veterans, dependents of Veterans, widows of Veterans and disabled children of Veterans need to be counted by HUD. What is the big secret as to why your not counting them? The big secret that Veterans are not counted by HUD is that Veterans don’t matter to you Shawn. Now, here is a scenario that makes Veteran advocates and should make every American citizen mad as hell. A veteran is wounded in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, he/she gets disability compensation from the VA and then is denied access to HUD disability housing because he/she earns too much money, money for being wounded in combat Shawn, but an illegal alien is accepted into HUD housing. That’s right, Let me repeat that, “A COMBAT WOUNDED VETERAN OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN IS DENIED DISABILITY HOUSING AND AN ILLEGAL ALIEN IS ACCEPTED”
What is wrong with this picture? We are housing illegal aliens in HUD subsidized disability housing in many housing authorities nationwide and Veterans wounded in combat are denied disability housing, is that true?.
According to your official spokesman there is “NO VETERANS PREFERENCE IN HUD SUBSIDIZED COMMUNITY BASED SUPPORTED HOUSING PROGRAMS”
Don’t tell me that HUD VASH CERTIFICATES are your answer to this national crisis Shawn. HUD awards 10,000 plus VASH certificates via the VA for subsidized housing for homeless veterans and then hides under the skirts of the VA saying “Look, Look at how we deal with Veterans” . Shame on you Mr. Secretary.
So, my readers are asking you and every member of congress again, “How many Veterans are served by HUD?”
What’s the matter Mr Secretary, Cat got your tounge?
My readers are especially interested in Disabled Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and how many are being served by HUD? How many OIF and OEF Veterans with combat injuries are housed tonight because of you? My research is showing zero. ZERO. That’s right , ZERO. I don’t have the research ability you do, but you tell me, how many OIF or OEF Veterans do you serve, can you show my readers at least ONE?
Where is the first lady in all this? She supports Military families, but does she drop the ball after they are wounded, discharged and need housing? Does Mrs Obama even know you don’t count Veterans? We are sending a separate letter to Michelle’s office and maybe she can answer my readers questions.
I would assume “Congress never asked us to count Veterans” will be the answer that is given to us by HUD . That’s not gonna cut the mustard with the 25 million Veterans in this country Shawn. We are not going away. Our voice is getting louder.
Under the community planning process done in each community, Combat Wounded Veterans don’t count. HIV Aids veterans count, Homeless veterans count, but what about the aging Veteran population?
Dr. Fred Karnes” your special advisor claims in a this HUD video below, “There are more Homeless Vietnam Veterans living on the streets of this nation tonight than were killed in Vietnam” What analogy is that to the problem of housing our aging Veterans? What rocket scientist came up with that formula? Are you suggesting Mr Secretary that if more Veterans were killed in Vietnam, HUD would increase the number of homeless veterans served by HUD? I know Fred Karnes, he’s a nice guy. But who ever told him to say that statistic in that HUD video needs to be brought to the woodshed.
You need to “Man Up” Shawn and use a little of the power of your office to demand answers from your staff. Begin with your DAS Mark Johnson. He has parceled out the responsibility of HUDVET to people who are not vets, who really see HUDVET as a pain in the ass and I am preparing a story soon about a group from Illinois, a group trying to do the right thing, and Mark sending them on a wild goose chase.
Occupy HUD is accepting signatures. Anyone can sign it here http://petitionbureau.org/occupyhud/
For more than twenty-five years Ken Smith has been a leading advocate for veterans. A combat Vietnam veteran, Ken served during 1971-72 as a paramedic and an infantry squad leader with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, in the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. After his discharge, Ken continued his work as a paramedic in New England. On the streets of Boston he encountered growing numbers of homeless Vietnam veterans, and he became determined to both assist them and draw attention to their plight.
In 1989, Ken founded the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, located in a former VA hospital at 17 Court Street in downtown Boston. One of the first facilities designed for homeless veterans and now a national model, the shelter has served over 35,000 of America’s veterans who, for whatever reason, find themselves living on the streets.
In 1992 Ken was awarded Point of Light #142 by President George H. W. Bush, and later that same year received the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award, considered the “Oscar” for American veterans. As one of America’s foremost veterans service organizations, AMVETS (or American Veterans) has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. Ken was awarded this honor along with Peter Coors, with whom he still maintains a personal friendship.
Over the years Ken has appeared on many national media programs including Good Morning America, Prime Time Live, ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN, 60 Minutes, and The Geraldo Show. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and numerous international newspapers, magazines, and websites. In 1992, Ken had the distinction of addressing both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions as a keynote speaker on the subject of veterans.
Ken recently left his last assignment with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, where he was the chief technology architect of the Veteran’s Vocational Technical Institute, Purple Heart Car Donation program, Purple Heart Call Center, Purple Heart Radio, Purple Heart Tech Support, Purple Heart Services, and over thirty new Purple Heart websites. Ken Smith provided the vision and has overseen the implementation of innovative, virtual, work-at-home training programs for veterans with combat disabilities. Ken has designed, upgraded, and supervised the integration and installation of Purple Heart Service Foundations computer and telephony systems, upgrading features from legacy POTS phones to SIP-trunked communications systems including establishing new VPN networks for teams of remote virtual employees.
An adventure sports enthusiast, Ken enjoys extreme skiing, competitive sailing, flying, and travel. He has traveled extensively worldwide, delivering his positive message to the veterans of other countries that a paraplegic veteran of the United States suffers the same as a paraplegic veteran of India; that an amputee veteran of Nepal suffers as much as an amputee veteran of France. Ken’s mentor was Harold Russell, the two-time Academy Award winner who starred in the 1946 film Best Years of Our Lives. A World War II veteran, on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, Harold lost both of his hands. This ghastly misfortune did not stop him, and he went on to become the chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Disabilities. For over fifty years he served US presidents from Truman to Clinton. Ken was humbled and grateful when Harold agreed to serve as the best man at Ken’s wedding.
Ken has been instrumental in the planning stages for the Veterans Workshop, a new nationwide veterans’ advocacy group building a new “Veterans Hotline, and the development of special programs for those who have lost their sight or their hearing, or who have suffered spinal cord injury, as a result of their military experience. The Veterans Workshop provides a forum where new technology and advancements in the fields of prosthetic and orthotic solutions, many designed by Ken, are shared along with virtual training and employment programs.
A 1970 graduate of De La Salle Academy in Newport, Rhode Island, for the past twenty-five years Ken has continued his education with extensive college courses in computer technology and related social service fields. He resides in his native state of Rhode Island with his wife and children.