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Meet the Alliance’s New West Point Fellow
July 29, 2013
Today's blog post was contributed by Kirby Ammons, the Alliance's new West Point Fellow.
I have a particular interest in helping people and seeing that our society is fair. That being said, I joined the Alliance under the presumption that homelessness wasn’t a major issue among our veterans. I was wrong, more wrong than I was at first willing to admit.
The Alliance opened my eyes in mere days at their 2013 National Conference on Ending Homelessness, where I had the opportunity to meet with advocates and officials and learn from 1,600 people from around the country who are working every day to end homelessness. I gained an understanding of veteran homelessness that prepared me to be part of their effort.
Though homelessness among veterans has declined by 7.2 percent since 2011 and by 17.2 percent since 2009, veterans continue to be overrepresented in the homelessness population. This new knowledge saddens my heart and strengthens my resolve. Truth is not always discovered in a book, and seeing and feeling with the minds and hearts of others broadened my horizons. With this new light, I have already grown in my understanding around one of our nation’s and societies’ greatest issues.
As a fellow at the Alliance, I’m working closely with Ian Lisman, the Alliance’s Veterans Policy Analyst. I only have a couple of weeks to meet my objectives, but I’m confident that I will grow to understand how policy objectives, legislation, and research work together to advance the administration’s goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
Originally from Bluffton, South Carolina, I’m currently a junior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, where I am a vestry member of my church, as well as the leader of a soup kitchen into Newburgh and a religious club (Canterbury Club) on campus.
I don’t know if it’s something about being here, in Washington DC, the heart of our great nation, but I feel dedicated, motivated, and downright ecstatic to learn, to grow, and to help others as much as I can along the way.