For the past 10 months, Allentown has been the home of Veterans Sanctuary, an in-patient treatment center specifically for veterans with substance abuse problems and PTSD and other stress-related conditions. Today, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will talk a lot about their commitment to the men and women who fight the wars our government directs. On Thursday, even as veterans continue to come home in need of precisely these services, Veterans Sanctuary will close its doors for good.
From the Morning Call:
A unique in-patient treatment center in Allentown for veterans suffering from addiction and stress-related disorders that opened to great fanfare last year is shutting down.
Veterans Sanctuary will transfer its remaining clients and suspend operations Thursday, said Robert Csandl, executive director of Treatment Trends, the nonprofit that opened Veterans Sanctuary last July.
The program’s demise has nothing to do with a lack of demand, Csandl says. The culprit is a foe that has outlasted the Nazis, North Koreans, Viet Cong, the Iraqi Army and the Taliban — government bureaucracy. In essence, bureaucrats overseeing the state departments of Health and Public Welfare and the U.S. Veterans Affairs programs said they were limited in how much they could cover long-term, in-patient, non-hospital care. That leaves the 32-bed sanctuary with lots of potential clients, but no way to pay for their treatment.
Read the rest here.
I’ve been to the Sanctuary, met some of the residents, eaten a meal prepared by Dennis and was blessed by his willingness to share his gifts and his story. There’s great support from the community, but not enough to cover the losses incurred because of gaps in coverage.
This development saddens and sickens me. God help us if our government and our systems can’t do better by our vets. We can pay billions and trillions of dollars for war and nation-building, and we will, in the long run, pay for the domestic consequences of failing to support the troops at home.