Academic Master


Outreach To Homeless Veterans

In the reading “Days in the Lives of Social Workers,” Linda May Grobman narrates the experiences of social workers involved in rehabilitating homeless veterans. The author is an outreach worker at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Tucson,  based in Arizona.  Linda and other social workers are directly involved in implementing a program called Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV). This program is intended to offer treatment and basic resources for mentally ill veterans who are homeless and without a permanent residence to call home. Linda’s major task is to visit the veterans where they frequent and explain the services offered at VAMC. Linda ensures she visits in person the places the homeless veterans normally stay, which often revolves around camps, jails, temporary labor halls, shelters, and soup lines. Linda approached the veterans with proper understanding to avoid backlash and retaliation by steering away as much as possible from directly attacking their way of life. Her main role is to outline the benefits the veterans are eligible to receive from the government. She takes supplies such as clothing, water, bedding, food, and other essential items to win their trust. However, her main intention of the visit is to mobilize them to seek medical treatment and counseling and ultimately integrate into mainstream society by accepting to stay in decent houses.

The social values presented in the reading include service, social justice, dignity, and the individual’s worth. Linda sought to sensitize the veterans about the services the government offers to enhance their welfare. Contrary to their cynical obsession that they are not cared for or constantly facing danger, Linder strived in the best way possible, to remind them how various institutions were open and ready to meet all their needs. For instance, rehabilitation services to treat their mental disorders and addiction to substance abuse. The social workers strived to ensure the veterans received proper social justice by providing them basic food and shelter. The workers valued their dignity by promptly providing decent employment opportunities,   disability claims, and affordable housing.

The major challenge of working with this population is the limited understanding between the social workers and the veterans.  Veterans have become used to living in camps, jails, and shelters such that any attempt to persuade them otherwise results in conflict and open retaliation. Thus, social workers must be careful about how they approach them. The veterans have impaired mental reasoning because of mental disorders. Therefore, social workers must approach them with a proper understanding of their prevailing mental disabilities.

The major ethical question arising from this reading is the perceived lack of proper understanding of the experiences veterans went through. The social workers may not have adequate training to understand how to treat the veterans. Usually, the apparent misunderstanding is attributed to inconsistencies experienced by the veterans.  Without proper awareness of veterans’ cultural background, it may lead to poor treatment and handling of their situation.

Social work services are also needed in the Houston Area. Just like Arizona, the Houston Area has a record-high number of homeless veterans who need basic requirements as well as medical services to improve their deplorable living standards.

After going through the reading, I was surprised to discover that the veterans who served the country in military service for many years live in such a deplorable state. After their retirement, I expected the veterans to be rewarded with proper housing and up-to-date medical treatment. However, it is quite unfortunate that the veterans are homeless and lack access to basic human requirements.

Therefore, it is clear from this reading that veterans ought to be given more attention by ensuring they are accorded the best rehabilitation services immediately after retirement. Also, social workers should be given more support, particularly proper training and funding, to facilitate outreach and rehabilitation for homeless veterans.



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