‘They Deserve Better’ – Report Shows a Quarter of Michigan Veterans Are Struggling to Pay Bills
The United Way of Michigan put out a report from 2019 that shows more than a quarter of veterans in our state are below the ALICE Threshold. The Threshold looks at the minimum income level necessary for a family to survive. According to the United Way of Northwest Michigan, a family of four living in the region must make over $60,000 a year in order to survive. So the Executive Director of the United Way of Northwest Michigan, Seth Johnson, says the number of vets struggling could be even higher.
“There’s a lot that’s happened in our world since 2019 as well as we know numbers could look different here in northwest Michigan. So while 26% of veterans are struggling across the entire state, that number could be higher in northwest Michigan,” Johnson explains.
The President of Veterans Serving Veterans, Roger Bandeen, calls the report disappointing, but believes there could be even more struggling. He says vets deserve better.
“Arguably our veterans have done more for our country than any other group, and they deserve to be taken care of. [They deserve] living where they don’t have to make the choice between rent, insurance, gas and the basic necessities of life,” Bandeen states.
The United Way of Northwest Michigan says the number of veterans struggling in the state is far too high. Johnson says they’re working closely with local V.A.’s and supporting a host of nonprofits in hopes to make a difference.
The President of Veterans for Peace in Traverse City, Tim Keenan, says he thinks at least a third of veterans are below the ALICE Threshold.
“Historically we haven’t been taken care of like we should’ve been over the year. I know there’s a lot of homeless veterans here in Traverse City [and] they just need to be taken care of,” Keenan claims.
Keenan says he hopes veterans will soon get the care they’ve earned.
“I could go on and on about how much money we’ve spent on things to destruct humankind. We could give some of that money to veterans so that way they wouldn’t have to struggle so much anymore,” Kennan says.