Veteran Homelessness

Haylie Gross, Logan Johnson

Who Are Homeless Veterans?

11% of the adult homeless population are veterans, and of those 11%, approximately 9% are between the ages 18 and 30, and 41% are between the ages 31 and 50. Homeless veterans have served in most of the country's wars inclusing, World War 2, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq. One half of all homeless vets served during the Vietnam era, and 2/3 served our country for at least 3 years. And of the homeless vet population, 1/3 of them were stations in a war zone for combat.

How Many Homeless Veterans are There?

1.4 million other veterans are considered to be at risk of homelessness due to povery. It is estimated that 47,725 veterans are homeless on any given night. The number of young homeless veterans is increasing, but only constitutes about 8.8% of the overall homeless veteran population.

Why Are Veterans Homeless?

Most veterans are homeless due to an extreme shortage of affordable, livable income and access to health care. Many live with PTSD and substance abuse. Also, many military occupations and training are not always transferrable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment. A top priority for homeless veterans is secure, safe, clean housing that offers a supportive environment free of drugs and alcohol.

Doesn't the VA help veterans?

To an extent, yes. Each year, VA's specialized homelessness programs, provide health care to almost 150,000 homeless veterans and other services to more than 112,000 veterans. They help veterans in crisis and can sometimes provide food and beds for veterans to help them back on their feet. But they can not eliminate all the veteran homelessness.