by Marlene M. Fitzwater
Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. And at the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Veteran’s Day is on November 11 and we are already planning how we will honor the homeless veterans in our community.
It is estimated that there are more than 17 million veterans currently living in America. It is also estimated that there are over 630,000 homeless people in America and 67,495 are veterans. It is surprising that in today’s society, over 1 in 10 homeless people in America are veterans. There are a variety of reasons for such a large percentage of the homeless being veterans.
In California, a lack of affordable housing is a major factor contributing to this problem. California has the highest housing costs in the nation, and many veterans are unable to afford even the most basic rental units. Additionally, veteran-specific housing options are severely limited, and there is often a long waiting list for available units.
The UC Davis Hospice Program is part of We Honor Veterans, a national organization that addresses the unique needs of American veterans. Randy Kanouse, a veteran, a UC Davis Hospice Volunteer and member of the Joshua’s House Hospice Board of Directors, stepped up with a proposal to offer his exemplary way of honoring those who have served our country and are now homeless. His approach includes in-depth interviews, presentations, certificates of appreciation, and pinning ceremonies.
“The residents of Joshua’s House will be much more than medical cases and by conducting ceremonies to acknowledge the residents who are veterans, to learn what they did and to thank them for their sacrifices, we will honor them in the deepest way,” Randy said.