In the United States, there are an estimated 67,000 homeless veterans. This number represents about 11% of all homeless people in America. Veterans are defined as those who have served on active duty in the Armed Forces at any time since September 16, 1940 (the date when Congress passed the Selective Training and Service Act).
Veterans can become homeless for many reasons including: mental illness or substance abuse issues; lack of affordable housing; unemployment; physical disability; family problems such as divorce or death of a spouse; poverty from lack of income from military service pensions and benefits
The Impact of Homelessness on Veterans
The impact of homelessness on veterans is significant. Veterans are more likely to experience homelessness than non-veterans, and they have higher rates of chronic health conditions and mental illness. Veterans who become homeless also tend to be younger than their civilian counterparts, which can make it harder for them to access services or find employment.
When veterans lose their homes and become homeless, they face many challenges that can affect their physical and mental health:
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Disconnection from family and community
Causes of Veteran Homelessness
Veteran homelessness is caused by a number of factors. First, there’s the lack of affordable housing. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, veterans make up 10% of Americans but comprise 20% of those living on the streets or in shelters.
Second, mental health issues are another major cause: Many veterans have PTSD or other mental illnesses that make it difficult for them to keep jobs and maintain relationships with family members or friends who could help them find shelter if they needed it.
Finally–and this may come as a surprise–unemployment rates among veterans are higher than those among non-veterans (7% vs 5%), according to data from 2017 collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Government Response to Veteran Homelessness
The government has responded to this crisis by providing housing programs, mental health services and employment assistance.
- Housing programs: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides homeless veterans with access to 2,200 beds at its medical centers across the country. In addition, it funds community-based organizations that provide transitional housing for veterans who are living on their own or in shelters or on the streets. These organizations can also help veterans find permanent homes through case management services that include job training and placement assistance as well as financial planning advice on how best to use their benefits once they’ve been granted them by VA staff members working at throughout and territories.* Mental health services: If you’re experiencing psychological distress due to combat-related issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression or anxiety disorders then there are many resources available through VA hospitals located throughout America’s states including New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital Center For Excellence In Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Services At Mount Sinai Queens Hospital Center For Excellence In Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Services At Mount Sinai Queens Hospital Center For Excellence In Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Services At Mount Sinai Queens Hospital Center For Excellence In Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Services At Mount Sinai Queens Hospital Center For Excellence
Nonprofit Organizations Helping Veterans
There are many nonprofit organizations that help veterans.
One of the most well-known is Homes for Heroes, which builds homes for veterans and their families. The Mission Continues works to help veterans who are transitioning back into civilian life find purpose through community service projects. Stand Down provides job training, medical care and other services at events held throughout the country each year.
How to Help Homeless Veterans
- Donate money.
- Volunteer time.
- Advocate for change.
As we approach the end of this article, it’s important to remember that veterans are still in need of support. The Veteran Affairs website states that there are an estimated 57,849 homeless veterans in America who are struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse problems. In addition, many of these individuals have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can make it difficult for them to maintain steady employment or housing.
As a result, there is no doubt that there will continue to be an ongoing need for organizations like VVSDHN and other groups throughout the country working hard every day on behalf of our nation’s veterans who have served us so bravely during wartime.
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