Our opinion: Our turn to protect them

It’s wrong that anyone is homeless.

It is both wrong and an embarrassment to us as a society that a veteran is homeless.

And, it’s gratifying to find out that there is a group of people who feel the same way and are doing something about it.

When they see the word homeless, many people conjure an image of a raggedy man or woman pushing a shopping cart with all of their belongings, searching dumpsters for a meal and living in storm drains.

Homeless is more than that stereotype.

Basically, you are homeless when you lose your home. It can be through foreclosure, through accident or disaster, like fires or flood. It can simply be because you’ve lost your job and can’t pay your rent.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, one-third of homeless veterans live in non-urban areas -places like Warren County.

The Economic Opportunity Council here is teaming with the Chautauqua (N.Y.) Opportunities for Development, Inc. and its House Services division to seek out veterans in the region in need of help with housing. The fact that two agencies in adjoining states are working together on a project like this is unique in itself.

The program will help with utility, mortgage, rent or other payments to help veterans stay in their homes or put them in homes if they are already homeless. The program is open to veterans facing homelessness with income below 50 percent of the median income in the area, which is $23,147 for an individual and $42,167 for a household in this area.

Finding a need and filling it is what community is all about.

Veterans, in particular, deserve this help as a way for a community and a nation to say thanks for their sacrifices.

We should not turn our backs on them and pretend they don’t exist. And, fortunately, it appears that we aren’t.