Veterans camping near the VA Hospital/Old Soldiers Home on North Capitol?


A reader writes:

“They are just up from the entrance to the VA hospital on Irving near Michigan Ave. I’ve always wanted to ask them about it but I’m always driving.”

Anyone else notice these tents? Anyone happen to know if they’re in need of assistance?

14 Comment

  • Some tents have recently popped up on the side of the MBT just above the stairs from L Street, NE.

  • There have been people living in this area for a year or more, although the tents are new. One man used to have a hammock at Wangari gardens, and then a makeshift tarp tent. It’s provoked several important conversations with the kids on the way to school.

  • How do you know they are Veterans? Just because they have an American flag?

    • And because for many homeless veterans, the VA is the one fixed location in their lives. I don’t know, but I assumed the same.

  • Probably waiting in line to see at doctor at the VA. It’s really sickening how broken this system STILL is.

    • I am a disabled veteran. I have been in pain and calling my doctor at the DC VA medical center for weeks. None of my voicemails or messages left for my doctor thru the nurse howling were ever returned. I physically went to the office recently and they told me the earliest available appointment is in December. Go figure.

  • There’s a sick irony when we have homeless vets sleeping next to a bunch of empty buildings at the “Old Soldiers Home” where apparently elderly soldiers lived out their final years with some sense of dignity.
    Serious question: do we have taxpayer-funded group homes for homeless or otherwise old/disabled veterans? It seems like there should be a place of “last resort” for these guys after serving our country.

    • Are those buildings empty? A family member looked into living there a couple of years ago and I don’t recall there being an issue of empty buildings.

    • I know that they do exist in other parts of the country. My biological grandfather had/has(?) some serious mental health issues, and dealt with homelessness off and on. He eventually landed in a a sort of assisted living facility for Vets in Kansas. There is a large Veteran’s nursing home and assisted living facility in Charlotte Hall, MD, and all Vets who were honorably or medically discharged are able to live there as long as they meet the criteria. The difficulty is that you have to be able to obtain what is called a “level of care” in order to qualify for these services, and there is also a long waiting list. The long term care community I used to work at was trying to get accredidation with the VA to take Vets as well because there was such a need, but no surprise, the hoops to jump through were endless and I don’t think it ever came to fruition.
      There is a great need in general for more housing options for the elderly that is not being met. In general, people over the age of 70 are very vulnerable, especially those who fall into lower socio-economic categories. Add to that untreated mental illness or uncompliant patients, and you have a shit storm brewing as a lot of Vets fall into that category. I would love for the VA to do more in our area. Our Vets have been failed on so many levels, and it just continues. Sadly, having intimate knowledge of how the Veteran’s Administration works, I am very doubtful that they will get their shit together any time soon.

  • Didn’t the cops clear out to tent folks over near Georgetown recently? I assumed this was them opening up shop in other parts of town.

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