Veterans Ombudsman recommends new approach to veteran care
Veterans seeking emergency shelter face too many obstacles, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the Veterans Ombudsman. The ombudsman said veterans "feel abandoned" because of the current process for arranging emergency shelter.
The government has a special duty to care for veterans, said Veterans Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen. Veterans can develop physical or psychological complaints as a result of their posting. Consequently, they can sometimes no longer stay in their own home and urgently need another place temporarily. If that fails, they can then appeal to the Ministry of Defense or the Dutch Veterans Institute.
It is unclear which body is in charge of emergency shelter, so veterans, their families and care providers often do not know where to go, said Van Zutphen. Institutions refer back and forth to each other and, as a result, veterans are sometimes forced to rely on homeless shelters.
In addition, as it currently stands, the Veterans Desk only accepts requests for help from veterans themselves or their partners –– "while often others in their immediate environment, such as family, neighbors, service mates or friends, can estimate very well whether a veteran needs help," Van Zutphen said. The waiting times are also long, there are too few childcare options with a duration longer than two weeks and a distinction is made between veterans with and without a recognized employment disorder.
In the fall, the ombudsman will examine how the minister has implemented the recommendations.
Reporting by ANP