Conversations from Studio B

A Town Hall Meeting Will Discuss Veteran Homeless Issues and Survey

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The Athens County League of Women Voters has joined forces with various local veterans’ organizations to schedule a town meeting to discuss the Homeless Veterans Project. The meeting will take place at the Athens Community Center Multipurpose Room Wednesday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) at 6:30 p.m.
The meeting’s organizers will unveil the results of a three year survey of homeless veterans living in Athens County, present a tri-fold pamphlet to give aid to veterans, and challenge the Athens community to increase efforts to alleviate homelessness for veterans.

Current Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl will speak along with incoming mayor-elect Steve Patterson. Dr. Jim Salzman, who designed the survey and analyzed the results, also will be speaking along with Kevin Martin, president of Southeastern Ohio Veterans’ Support Group and commander of the VFW Post 8804 in New Marshfield and Ron Luce of Clem House.

Ellsworth Holden, League co-president, and Martin visited WOUB’s Tom Hodson and gave him a preview of the survey’s results.

In 2012, there were 347 homeless veterans living in Athens County. That number dropped to about 286 in 2013 and it is down to double digits in 2014.

“Many of the homeless also are suffering from other maladies associated with their service,” Martin says. “Many have PTSD and some form of substance abuse. They also suffer from unemployment. They either cannot find jobs or they are unemployable in their current condition.”

It is estimated that about 400,000 Athens county residents have served in the military throughout the county’s history.