Veteran homelessness decreasing in central Maryland and the Eastern Shore

Veteran homelessness decreasing
Posted at 1:05 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 18:28:13-04

The problem of homelessness is something you see on the streets of Baltimore every day.

This year, more than a hundred of veterans are off the streets and getting help from the Department of Veterans Affairs, something the healthcare system is hoping to build on.

Veteran homelessness decreased 25 percent from 2015-2016 in central Maryland and the Eastern Shore, according to the VA Maryland Healthcare System. That translates to 141 veterans.

Chief of Social Work, Christopher Buser, credits the vast amount of programs and partners who fund their work at the VA.

"We really have a good system in place, we are working with a number of community partners, we're working on grant partnerships where we can offer money to veterans who just need help with getting rent, or paying their BG & E bill," Buser said.

Buser adds they have temporary shelter and work programs that allows vets to have income and work for the VA. That's where you will find Marvin Page, an army brat who served 15 years in the military.

Page grew up with a strict father, whom he says ran the house like a general. Page grew up to serve the Army National Guard and the Air Force.

Once out of the service he slipped into a deep depression, plagued by drugs, and a cancer diagnosis.

He followed his training, and just tried to survive, not asking for help.

"I had an epiphany," Page said.

He made the call, the police came and brought him to the VA.

Once there, he went on medications, joined a therapy group, and got involved with the back to work program at the VA.

"There's so much help here, for me, I've been overwhelmed with help," Page said.

A new study by the VA shows 20 veterans die each day from suicide nationwide. As a vet who thought about hurting himself, page has a message for other vets out there.

"Ask for help. Because I didn't. I knew something was wrong but I didn't ask for help. I just tried to just make it. I was surviving, not living," Page said.

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