American Legion Post 36

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 7:15am

The pandemic has hit many in our community and the state hard on a number of different levels. One group that has seen the effects of the pandemic are those who lost their jobs and became unable to pay their mortgage or rent. While there have been some programs to protect folks from being evicted, some are ending up on the street anyway. Statistics of homeless veterans in the state are collected by the Homeless Veteran Action Committee. In their January report, it showed that from October to the end of December, 185 veterans were identified as homeless. Over the past several years, that number is usually between 100 and 110 — 152 of those are receiving some form of help from the government or government funded agencies. 33 of those are not in any form of shelter. An interesting statistic is that the average number of days for a veteran who is identified to be homeless to when that veteran moves into permanent housing is 163 days.

While these statistics are just numbers, each one represents someone who has lost everything, whose life has been turned upside down, who in the past voluntarily signed up to protect this country and served their time, most honorably, and now are just struggling to survive. I am proud of Maine for its efforts to solve this problem. The state and the feds have provided funds to specific agencies to provide assistance. Non-profits are providing case works to work with each veteran. Non-profits like VETS are providing temporary shelters until established shelters are available. Maine Veterans in Need, with donated funds, provides emergency funding to provide food, gas, lodging or whatever emergency funding is required until regular services are available. The Maine Bureau of Veterans Services Homeless Veteran Coordinator, Jarad Greeley, is the first point of contact for anyone who is homeless, about to be homeless or knows someone in these situations. Jarad, navigates all these resources provide the necessary help.

Are you, or do you know, a disabled person who did, or does enjoy recreational activities? For the past nine years, I have been part of Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation (MASR), and now the president of the board. With over 300 volunteers and currently over 200 folks with some sort of disability we offer skiing, snowshoeing, biking, pickle ball, tennis, golf, rock climbing, just to name a few. MASR has all the equipment to adapt to most any disability. Socializing with others is often as important as participating in the sport. Contact me or go to www.maineadaptive.org to see how you can get involved. As with other organizations, the pandemic has had its financial impact on the organization. You can help by donating via that website as well.

The next Post meeting will be Zoom only on March 8 at 1800. Please join us! Not a member and want to participate, send me an email dapatch@roadrunner.com and I'll send you the connection.