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America’s Heroes Group talks with millennial veterans

Millenial veteran has issues with housing

Veteran Marine Corps Corporal Claude Fields III was the call-in guest panelist on the America’s Heroes Group radio talk show on Saturday March 16. Fields conversed with host Cliff Kelley regarding his dissatisfaction with what he describes as his “horrible living conditions.” Fields resides in Riverside, CA, where he rents an apartment.

He said his “landlord doesn’t care about the apartments he rents being clean, having proper working appliances nor accurate plumbing. Simply put, he just wants a check.” He added, “I have served my country well, however look how my country isn’t serving me.”

Fields mentioned he has had “horrible” experiences identifying available housing, at times being on the verge of eviction due to a lengthy process waiting for his HUD housing voucher which pays a portion of his rent.

Veterans receive rental support through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which helps to reduce and prevent homelessness among the veteran population. However, HUD delays and follow ups are causing major concerns among the military population. The accompanying article below highlights some of the positive changes veterans seeking housing can look forward to.

HUD toughens housing inspections to prevent landlords from ‘gaming the system’

Decision comes in the wake of an NBC News investigation into the broken process and tenant complaints of poor living conditions.

By Suzy Khimm

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has taken a step toward tougher health and safety inspections of taxpayer-subsidized housing, amid recent reports of substandard living conditions at the properties.

The agency said it would provide landlords only 14 days’ advance notice that it would be conducting an inspection, rather than a heads-up of up to three or four months. The agency described its decision as a “dramatic” change that would discourage cosmetic, last-minute repairs to housing for low-income Americans, according to a press release issued Wednesday.

The department first floated the idea of tightening the inspection notification window in a meeting with industry stakeholders in late November, two weeks after NBC News published an investigation into the broken inspection process.

“It’s become painfully clear to us that too many public housing authorities and private landlords whom we contract with were using the weeks before their inspection to make quick fixes, essentially gaming the system,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in the press statement Wednesday.

If a property owner or agent refuses a scheduled inspection, the property will automatically get a score of zero, according to the notice detailing the change. A failed inspection is supposed to prompt swift enforcement action by the department, which can conduct follow-up assessments, impose fines or cancel contracts with delinquent landlords, among other steps.

Veteran introduces young voters to electoral process

During the second portion of the March 16 talk show Navy veteran Ken Porter talked with Kelley about the electoral process and the need to prepare young voters to participate in the process.

Porter is a logistics specialist in the Navy Reserve and has served throughout south east Asia with long term mobilizations to Japan, Singapore, and the Philippines.

He is also a program director at Mikva Challenge “where they believe that democracy is a verb.” Mikva Challenge says it develops youth to be “empowered, informed and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society.”

At Mikva he consults with teachers on best practices to engage students in electoral politics and direct action organizing.

“Ken Porter is passionate about creating a more informed electorate and believes the way to do that is by engaging young people on issues that matter to them and providing them with ways to engage in the process. Ken has trained hundreds of students how to campaign for candidates running for office and has organized large scale campaign opportunities from city council races to presidential races.”

Porter teaches students how to use digital tools along with traditional advocacy to collaborate with decision makers to make inclusive policy change. Last year, he advised a cohort of over 150 teachers on ways to engage their students in elections and on issues in their communities.

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