Homeless Vets Matter

“Killing people is easier than it should be.” Dad put on his beret. “Staying alive is harder.” 

Having the stigma associated with co-occurring behavior and PTSD is my "WHY" to the passion exuded in my work ethic, so many people don't understand. SCARP has been reinvigorated by denial,  the misconception of others' opinions, and sheer lack of understanding as it relates to employing a survivor of 9 combat campaigns and 6 prison terms, 2 years of living in the backseat of an unregistered vehicle while your wife and you go to school on a cell phone because of a 7-10 year felony employment hold on life.

Why are Veterans Homeless?

There is an extreme shortage of affordable housing for veterans, especially for those suffering from post-traumatic stress and substance use disorders in need of behavioral health services. Also, most returning veterans do not have the family and social support to help them out. One of the deciding factors is most of the training military men and women receive is not transferable into the workplace. This places a lot of veterans at a disadvantage because serving in the Army does not help get returning veterans jobs. Also on any given night, almost 50,000 veterans are without homes. This is a lot and these need to be reduced to none because these men and women served their country to protect everyone. They should not be treated with disrespect, nor should they be homeless.

Currently, the number of homeless Vietnam-era veterans is greater than the number of service persons who died during that war. Also, a small number of Desert Storm veterans are also appearing in the homeless population. Although many homeless veterans served in combat in Vietnam and suffer from PTSD, at this time, epidemiologic studies do not suggest that there is a causal connection between military service, service in Vietnam, or exposure to combat and homelessness among Veterans. Family background, access to support from family and friends, and various personal characteristics (rather than military service) seem to be the stronger indicators of risk of homelessness.

Almost all homeless veterans are male, about 3% are women which is on the rise, the vast majority are single, and most come from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds. Homeless veterans tend to be older and more educated than homeless non-veterans. But similar to the general population of homeless adult males, about 45% of homeless veterans suffer from mental illness, and (with considerable overlap) slightly more than 70% suffer from alcohol or other drug abuse problems. Roughly 56% are African American or Hispanic.

Facts and Statistics of Homeless Veterans

1.According to its own estimates, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs will reach slightly more than 40 percent of America’s homeless veterans. (“Background & Statistics.” National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.)

2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly 8% being female. (“Background & Statistics.” National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.)

3. About 13% of the adult homeless population are veterans. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA))

4. Homeless veterans are younger on average than the total veteran population. Approximately 9% are between the ages of 18 and 30, and 41% are between the ages of 31 and 50. Conversely, only 5% of all veterans are between the ages of 18 and 30, and less than 23% are between 31 and 50.

5. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA))

6. About 1. 5 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. (“Background & Statistics.” National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.)

7. The 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, prepared by HUD, estimates there were 62,619 homeless Veterans on a single night in January in the United State. (Cortes, Alvaro, Meghan Henry, RJ De La Cruz, and Scott Brown. “2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.” Housing and Urban Development: Homelessness Data Exchange)

8. The most effective programs for homeless and at-risk veterans are community-based, nonprofit, “veterans helping veterans” groups. (“Background & Statistics.” National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.)

9. More than 67% of Homeless Veterans served our country for at least three years and 33% were stationed in a war zone. (“Stand Down’s Information Page about Homeless Veterans.” Stand Down’s Information Page about Homeless Veterans.)

10. Homeless veterans are more likely to die on the streets than non-veterans. (Goldberg, Eleanor. “Homeless Veterans More Likely To Die On Streets Than Other Homeless People, Study Says.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Nov. 2011.)