Legislators did a lot this week to help North Carolina military service members and veterans. The Goldsboro News Argus reported that U.S. Senator Richard Burr reintroduced the “Services to Prevent Veterans Homelessness Act” which will provide supportive services to keep low-income veterans from becoming homeless. The bill increases veterans’ access to housing, physical and mental health services, health insurance, as well as vocational and financial counseling.
In a statement Sen. Burr said,
I am grateful to the veterans who have given so much to our country. While we can never fully repay them for their service on behalf of our Nation, it is important that we remember their sacrifices and provide services for them. Many of our veterans find themselves living in extreme poverty and some are homeless. This legislation will help ensure our veterans receive access to the benefits they deserve.”
State legislators also took steps to help military families by introducing two new bills. House Bill 773, sponsored by Rep. Grier Martin, will protect military service members and their families from predatory insurance practices. Another draft bill, sponsored by Reps. Martin, Bordsen, Glazier and Underhill establishes a consumer protection position in the NC Attorney General’s Office to protect military service members and their families from consumer fraud.
These actions by legislators are all good. Many veterans are especially needy and deserving of our assistance.
At the same time, there are many other North Carolinians who are struggling for access to affordable housing, physical and mental health services and who also need consumer protections.
It seems there’s a message implicit in these bills that some people deserve assistance and protection but others don’t. The view seems to be that while veterans deserve housing assistance and protection from predatory consumer practices, other hardworking and honest (but vulnerable) people should fend for themselves. Isn’t it time for government to assure that all Americans have a real opportunity to participate in the American dream? What better way could there be to validate the sacrifice of our veterans than to improve the fairness and equity of the country for which they sacrificed so much?