I Am Waters Foundation

Today is 09.27.2016

Helping Homeless Vets | Buffalo , New York | Buffalo News

Living on the streets was painful for Daryl Pinkney. But it wasn’t the harsh cold or hunger that bothered him — it was the thought of being away from his children.

“How do you tell your five-year-old and seven-year-old that you’re homeless, or live in a shelter?” he said. “How, when you’ve always lived in a house together?”

Pinkney is one of an estimated 400 homeless veterans in Erie County, and 130,000 homeless veterans nationwide. The issue of homeless veterans in Western New York itself is growing larger, as more men return from the military with the invisible wounds of stress and trauma that prevent them from leading normal lives.

Both homeless and nonhomeless veterans were able to learn of the different programs and services — from housing to health care to employment — available to them at the “Stand Down” for U.S military veterans Wednesday in the Central Terminal.

More and more returning veterans are undergoing a similar cycle, said Patrick Welch, director of Daemen College’s Center for Veterans and Veteran Family Services. The veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder from the horrors they’ve witnessed, or are suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Depending on the severity of TBI, some could suffer from seizures or memory loss.

They lose the ability to hold a job. They begin “couch-hopping,” or staying with different family members and friends, Welch said. And eventually, they have no choice but to move to the streets.