The Treatment of American Veterans

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Pathways to Care is a Homeless Shelter.
It is not called that, but it is.

Kept uncomfortably cold, probably for the same reason as Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, the residents have little to do. Watch television, eat, use the bathroom, sleep, go outside to smoke a cigarette.

It is one of the best, small and clean, staffed by functionaries who try to be compassionate and by a light medical staff of nurses who will do no more than dispense medication proscribed by a physician.  If one needs medical care they must ask to go to one of the free clinics.  

American Veterans are housed here.  Cheaper than a bed at the Veteran’s Hospital, they are discharged to the homeless shelter as quickly as possible.  A bed at a Veteran’s Hospital is expensive, a bed at the Shelter is cheap. Many, discharged too soon suffer relapses and needing an ambulance to return them, only to gain treatment and be redeposited.  Others will beg to go to a Free Clinic, then refuse to leave, crying and complaining until sent to a hospital.

Warehoused at the Shelter, the Veterans fill out forms for Medicade.
And wait. 
Wait until they become sick enough to go to the hospital, wait until their benefits come through. 
Wait until maybe maybe a relative takes them in.
Wait until they die.

Many have fallen ill, lost their jobs or businesses and have no insurance.  Some tried to help a relative, bankrupted themselves, and now that they are sick, there is no where for them, save the homeless shelter.

Not all are Veterans, only the majority.  

Day to day they try to keep their spirits up, talking about nothing, marking time.  Time until their benefits come through and they can get a subsidised apartment.  Time until a relative visits.  Time until their next operation. 
Time until they die.

There are other residents.  AIDs sufferers, persons who need to be housed for a few days before admission to the hospital, persons from nursing homes who are tossed here until they can be tossed somewhere else.  

Time at the Shelter is limited; one week, but extensions can be gained.  
Some go week to week to month.

Waiting in a homeless shelter.


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