DENVER (CBS4) – President Obama is calling on lawmakers from both parties to help the nation’s veterans. He wants Congress to pass a package of tax credits for businesses that hire vets.
In Colorado the unemployment rate for veterans is more than 10 percent. Sen. Michael Bennet says the state and the nation need to do more to help vets — especially with many expected to come home from Iraq by the end of the year.
At the American Legion post on East Yale Street Bennet unveiled what he calls his blueprint to get both Colorado and the country ready for the returning veterans.
Bennet’s plan includes making sure that all organizations supporting veterans are communicating with one another as there are often critical gaps — so there’s a clear and complete picture of exactly what’s out there for veterans.
“Better coordination among the veterans themselves and the organizations that serve them,” Bennet said.
Bennet says he wants to help veterans find jobs as civilians and teach employers how to deal with combat injuries. Veterans need easy and efficient access to benefits as there’s often a bureaucratic overload and inefficiency.
Bennet says the government also needs to help veterans avoid foreclosure and homelessness, be aware of and address mental scars from combat, and be aware of challenges that entire families face.
“Veterans comprise about one-quarter of the total adult homeless population,” Bennet said.
“The see their husbands and their wives going through the obstacles of trying to fight the veterans administration or trying to get a job and take care of their families,” veteran Artie Guerrero said. “The children suffer in school. Their parents have been gone.”
About 400 military men and women will be coming home to Colorado in December. Bennet says he supports the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq and says that needs to happen in Afghanistan as well.