Manatee County Commission should opt for Veterans housing plan with easiest access to services

The Manatee County Commission is currently considering two different housing options for veterans. One that would be propelled by a known national non profit and would require a land donation, and another newer idea that could help a bigger group of the area’s veterans (story HERE).

Both options have the potential to be great. But the deciding factor should be which option can help the most veterans get back on their feet the fastest. And that means surrounding services.

As a veteran who has recently struggled in Florida, I can tell you that accessibility to the people that can help you is everything once you get a roof over your head. When you’re trying to fight your way back to self sustainability, time is the enemy. Time brings bills and deadlines that you may not be ready for. You’ve got to hit your appointments and you’ve got to get to work as quickly as possible.

Now one plan would also help women veterans and children. The other would not. With recent research reminding us that women veterans encounter the same difficulties as their male counterparts, that difference can’t be ignored (story HERE).

Commissioners should consider both plans but also have to remember that the clock is ticking. These operations obviously don’t happen overnight and there are veterans out there struggling right now.

They need that roof. And right after, they need someone getting them ready to work and helping them chart a course that gets them into their own place, and opening up that space they did occupy for another veteran who needs help.

That should be the decider in any plan for struggling veterans. To prevent them from struggling in as short of a time as possible.

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