U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee Meets with House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller to Discuss Terminally Ill Homeless Veterans
The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee’s Executive Director Gerald Johnson, accompanied by legislative staff, met today with Congressman Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, to discuss terminally ill homeless veterans and their need for dignified end-of-life care.
“It was a pleasure to meet with Chairman Miller today to discuss the need for a network of hospice facilities dedicated to terminally and chronically ill homeless veterans,” states Johnson. “Chairman Miller has the unique opportunity to make the American people aware of a problem few speak of, and use his power as the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee to make a real difference.”
Chairman Miller accepted petitions signed by thousands of U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee supporters urging the Congressman to help enact a network of hospice facilities geared specifically towards the unique circumstances surrounding this forgotten subset of military veterans.
“I really have to thank our supporters for all of their participation in this mission,” continued Johnson. “If it weren’t for the tens of thousands of signed petitions in favor of helping terminally ill homeless veterans, our meeting today simply would not have been possible.”
Chairman Miller asked the U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee to follow up with his committee staff with more raw data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, on the issue of terminally ill homeless veterans.
“I sincerely look forward to working with Chairman Miller and his staff in the future,” says Johnson. “My dream is to one day be able to say that not one military veteran will ever die cold and alone on the streets of America, and I couldn’t think of a better ally than Congressman Jeff Miller,” concluded Johnson.
The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee recently delivered letters of support for two critical pieces of legislation in the 113th Congress. Congressman Chris Collins recently introduced H.R. 4725, The Care for Our Heroes Act, and Congresswoman Julia Brownley introduced H.R. 4674, the Guarantee Housing for Terminally Ill Veterans Act.
“There are thousands of bills introduced in every session of Congress,” states Legislative Director Sean Ferritor. “The key is to have the support of our membership, so that our legislative team can identify the most important pieces of legislation that can help homeless veterans with terminal illnesses. Both Congressman Collins and Congresswoman Brownley
Homeless and dying veterans live on the very edge of society. Most people don’t think about them. They don’t have lobbyists; they don’t have family structures to pick them up when they are down. The simply live on the streets, afflicted with diseases such as Alzheimers, AIDS, or a myriad of chronic illnesses. Together, you and I can change that narrative.
You can help by putting pressure on Congress to finally connect the dots and create a network of hospice facilities for homeless veterans with terminal diseases. Your 2014 “Help Dying Veterans” petition will be in your mailbox in early September and it is imperative that you sign your petition and rush it back to the Committee in a timely manner.
These honorable veterans deserve a dignified way to spend their final hours, rather than dying scared and alone on the streets of this great country. We owe it to them. It’s our duty. Your 2014 “Help Dying Veterans” petition will be in your mailbox soon. Don’t let our American heroes down.
On April 9, The U.S. Veterans Hospice Committee attended a hearing titled “A Continued Assessment of Delays in VA Medical Care and Preventable Veterans Deaths.” The hearing was held by Congressman Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and explored delays in veteran care at VA hospitals, as well as ways to stop preventable deaths.
Barry Coates, a retired military veteran and proud American testified at the hearing regarding a case that unfortunately is becoming all too familiar within the VA. “Mr. Coates was misdiagnosed for over a year and a half,” stated Executive Director Gerald Johnson
Homeless veterans are targeted by criminals and thugs. They are beaten and robbed. John D'Amico, a homeless army veteran, was attacked and severely beaten by a group of teenagers who claimed they simply, "had nothing better to do."
"It is a national disgrace," says Executive Di-rector Gerald Johnson, "that our homeless veterans endure this violence on a regular basis. It is especially tragic that our terminally-ill homeless veterans must constantly live in fear while dealing with the difficulties of their ailment and homelessness."