Quil Lawrence

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The pandemic appears to be reversing years of progress in getting homeless American veterans off the streets. Over the past decade, homelessness among veterans dropped by about half through the work of the VA and community organizations as well as massive funding from the government. Now what happens? NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans had its annual conference this week...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KATHRYN MONET: All right, you guys. Welcome to today's session...

Since retiring from television in 2015, comedian Jon Stewart's most prominent work has been on behalf of Sept. 11 first responders — people who got sick after working in the toxic wreckage of the World Trade Center in New York. Many credit his celebrity testimony in 2019 with pushing Congress to preserve the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation fund.

This summer the Trump administration rolled out the President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) - a long awaited strategy to bring down the rate of suicide in the military and among civilians. It focuses on enlisting community partners and a public awareness campaign to fight the stigma around seeking help during a mental health crisis.

For the second time in two months, the Trump administration has sided with the for-profit college industry over a key constituency: veterans. In May, the president vetoed a bipartisan bill promoting debt forgiveness for veterans who were defrauded by for-profit schools. Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs is allowing two repeat-offending schools access to GI Bill money.

From Richmond to Seattle, cities are taking a fresh look at – and sometimes taking a sledgehammer to – statues of slave owners. U.S. military bases named for Confederate generals are under scrutiny, and the Marine Corps has banned Confederate flags. Some veterans would like to see this momentum help change the gender-exclusive motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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