Helping NV Veterans
Around a table at Congressman Steven Horsford’s North Las Vegas office sat a dozen-or-so veterans who call Nevada home.
Andy LeDuc is one of them. He served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972.
“Veterans need a lot of help,” LeDuc told me.
He's here on this federal holiday at the invitation of the Congressman, whose congressional district, which stretches from North Las Vegas to rural Nevada - is the second-biggest in the nation. 57,000 vets call his district home, and this group of veterans today assembled to talk about problems facing the men and women who have served their nation.
“Well, look, we have a lot of challenges throughout the VA,” Horsford, D-Nevada, tells me.
Among them, medical care. In Horsford's district is our relatively new VA hospital, which fills a critical need.
But it needs help, he says.
“There are over 400 vacancies. Those are jobs that are going unfilled that is contributing to veterans having to wait longer to be seen to have their health care needs met,” Horsford says.
Around this table Monday came suggestions to partner with UNLV'S med school to get more doctors locally in the VA system.
That's one issue; the other's housing.
Around the table sat Arnold Stalk, who runs Veterans Village, a nonprofit that helps vets stay off the street. He's here for help to find land in North Las Vegas, to build another of his shelters for veterans.
Housing is on Horsford's radar because the congressman says vets are getting priced out of the market.
“It’s very difficult,” Horsford says, “because the cost of housing continues to go up both on the multifamily apartment side, as well as for single family residences.”
“I want to work on the public lands legislation through the Natural Resources Committee (in Congress) to get more public lands available to the private sector for affordable housing, particularly for our veterans,” says Horsford.
In the meantime, back to what Andy Leduc says: vets need help.
“The guys that are coming back from overseas there are a lot of suicides and everything like that and they really have nobody to talk to. They do not understand that there are people out there that they can talk to,” LeDuc tells me.
Horsford is in a position to help. He sits on the powerful Budget and Ways and Means Committees in Congress, which can funnel more money to the Veterans Administration.