No Veteran Should Be Without a Place to Call Home.
America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly 9% being female. The majority are single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. About 11% of the adult homeless population are veterans.
While there are increased measures that have been taken to help veterans to cope with the changing lifestyle that happens after being discharged from military service is over, the statistics clearly show that not enough is being done to help support our brothers and sisters. Some do not have the resources available to them when they are discharged. Extreme shortages of affordable housing, the ability to earn a livable wage and access to reliable and timely health care are all part of the complex factors leading to homelessness.
According to a study in the journal, Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, two-thirds of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in one major sample had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — a much higher rate than in earlier cohorts of homeless veterans, who have PTSD rates between 8 percent and 13 percent.
A large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. Military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment from the very moment they exit service.
"We know that of the 20 suicides a day that we reported last year, 14 are not under VA care. This is a national public health issue that requires a concerted, national approach.” -VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin
The crucial issue of mental health care for veterans is more important than ever before due to the considerable number of veterans returning from combat missions who have experienced episodes of PTSD and other mental health conditions. More than 1.5 million of the 5.5 million veterans seen in VA hospitals had a mental health diagnosis in 2016. This represents about a 31% increase since 2004. Diagnosis of PTSD. is on the rise, as the changing nature of warfare increases the chance for injuries that affect mental health and as our veterans face significant challenges upon returning home . The potential negative effects of mental health issues, such as homelessness and suicide, affect the more than 107,000 veterans who are homeless on any given night.
If you are a Veteran in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine, or text to 838255.
Shelter Foundation aims to assist our fellow veterans to break the cycle of homelessness, help to overcome the lingering effects of PTSD, and prevent suicides. Contact us to find out how you can help.