Fort Kennedy- Veteran Housing
My name is Tina Kennedy. I grew up in the Milwaukie area most of my childhood. I graduated from Milwaukie High School in 1992, "Go Mustangs". I joined the United States Army and left for boot camp about 3 weeks after I graduated. I have spent 22 years moving all over the world and have found myself wanting to come home to the Milwaukie area to raise my teenage daughter. I retired last year from the Army as a First Sergeant and moved my daughter and myself back to this area so my daughter could go to Milwaukie High School.
Since being home I have noticed a few things about my home town that I was unaware of. Though from the freeways and main roads it seems like a beautiful place to live right on the other side of that row of trees by the freeway or right underneath the bridge you drive over every day there is a different story. I started a job about 3 months ago working as an outreach specialist to Homeless veterans. In just a short time I have come to realize that I spent the last 22 years of my life preserving the life and well being of people all over the world while the people right here in my home are having an even bigger issue. I am sure that some of you are aware of the homeless problem throughout the United States but you may not be aware of how large this problem is right here at home in your own backyard. The homeless issue here in our area is a huge problem and a large amount of the homeless people are veterans who served their county.
When you think about the statistics of less than 1 percent of Americans join the military and less than half of that number serve in a wartime situation. Now if you look at the homeless population almost 20 percent of these individuals living on the streets are veterans. So does this seem like there is a problem? A large number of the veterans on the street are suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other medical conditions but not all of them. This includes veterans from WWII, Vietnam, The Gulf War and many other controversies we have had all over the world; some of which you may of not heard of.
We know the government is working on programs all over the US to try and help veterans and their families. Obviously this is not enough. We should all look at ourselves and ask what can I do to help take care of the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airman that have served their country so that we can live the lives we live. Whether you are making a six figure income while living in a 6 bedroom house in Happy Valley or living in a trailer park out in Molalla; the point is you can live where you want, work where you want and fulfill your American dream in whatever fashion you see fit. This is not acceptable for us all to go on with our daily lives and pretend this is not happening.
My solution to this problem is quite simple. We as a community need to come together and help fix this problem. I have put together a plan to build a transitional compound for veterans and their families to come together and thrive. Fort Kennedy would be a compound open only to Veterans and their dependants. It would provide transitional housing for single veterans as well as families who need a little extra help to get back on their feet. This compound would be ran like a military base and would be staffed and ran by veterans only. It would include counseling sessions, support groups, financial classes and other services for veterans and families in need; as well as food, clothing, and moral support for all those that have served. ..
I have encountered about 35 non-profit organizations throughout the state of Oregon that have set up to help veterans and their families. But these organizations are small and can only help a few veterans each year. If we all come together and worked on building Fort Kennedy we could put all of are hard efforts to good use and help many more veterans in need. It would be located in a central location where there is public transit and all the social services would be accessible.
Please take the time to concider what a few dollars would do for the big picture. I will make this happen.
Tina, Fort Kennedy is closer to reality than you think. I am involved in a project that is designed to create a housing village for vets and would love to share that with you. My name is Jon and my number is 503-421-2270.
You go Tina! If anyone can do this it would be you! :-)