The NVF Needs a Bigger Bullhorn  

On February 6, the Los Angeles Times carried an article by Benjamin Oreskes about U.S. District Judge David O. Carter’s bringing tents to people lacking any  kind of shelter on Skid Row. Carter’s incensed by the conditions he witnessed and he wants elected officials and attorneys for the city and county to come see for themselves.

I hope he can make that happen.  The National Veterans Foundation’s Outreach Team has made numerous trips not just to Skid Row, but to other concentrations of homeless across the LA basin during the pandemic and before.  We welcome Judge Carter.  We’re incensed, too. We could use some help getting the message out about the serious consequences of not dealing with homeless, especially during a pandemic.

Since the beginning of 2020 we’ve published seven major blogs about the homeless. That’s about one every 8 weeks.  The outcome?  The problem continues to grow. Money is allotted and spent with little or no impact.

As judge overseeing a lawsuit brought against the city and county, Judge Carter has been active on this front. And front is the perfect word for the situation we’re facing. Carter’s been outspoken about the conditions he’s seen. He’s calling people out. Good for him, I say!

There’s a real danger to the entire city. In June, the last homeless count reported over 66,000 homeless in LA. That’s the number who could be found, not necessarily the total. The count this year has been canceled. You can bet the number is higher. Worse, no one seems to be going into those areas to offer basic amenities and medical care, much less masks.  Every trip we make, we’re greeted with people who tell us we’re the only ones they’ve seen.

I ask myself what’s it going to take… to convince people to at least act in their own self-interest by dealing with this problem? People living in squalid conditions without shelter, proper nutrition or access to basic medical care are the most vulnerable to disease. And this disease doesn’t fool around. It kills.  Worse, it mutates as it spreads.

I hope Carter can be heard. Wake up, LA!


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About the Author

Shad Meshad

As a U.S. Army Medical Service Officer in Vietnam in 1970, Shad Meshad began pioneering treatment techniques for what would later become known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is the founder of the National Veterans Foundation and founder and co-author of the VA’s Vet Center Program.


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