Homeless veterans are those who have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq. Predominantly homeless veterans tend to be males, with roughly 9% being female. Most of them are single and suffer from mental illnesses or even alcohol abuse. They often come from urban areas. Homeless veterans are younger on average, 9% being the ages between 18 and 30. Also 41% are between the ages of 31 and 50. About 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks.
The number of young homeless veterans is increasing, but only constitutes 8.8% of the overall homeless veteran population. In 2010, approximately 12,700 veterans of Operating Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and operation New Dawn. There is an extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care, making this a big factor of influencing all homelessness. A large amount of these homeless veterans are affected with the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is resulted by a lack of family and social support network.
There are ways to help these homeless veterans by implementing housing to ensure that veterans experiencing homelessness. Making sure that they can move into a stable home as quickly as possible. Creating a partnership with private market landlords is crucial to moving these veterans off of the streets. Being persistent and having a creative outreach is important to the ability to engage veterans experiencing homelessness.
Most people will think that the VA is taking care of these homeless veterans or why they aren’t doing anything about it, which to an extend they do. But what these homeless veterans are needing to be provided with is secure housing, nutritional meals, basic physical health care, substance abuse care and aftercare, mental health counseling, personal development and empowerment. All of these programs that are assisting homeless veterans should focus on helping them come by employment and make sure they retain it.
These other groups that are non-profit organizations who try to raise money for these veterans such as Wounded Warrior Project, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and Veterans helping Veterans. The VA does help them in providing pensions for VETS who have disability or employment. The only problem with the VA is that they have a maximum capacity in how many people they can help which leave many of them still on the streets.
There are more ways that we can help the homeless veterans along with these non-profit organizations. Making just a little donation to the homeless veterans will go a long way, even if it doesn’t seem like a lot. Participating in your local homeless coalition and if there is not one in your community then this might be time to talk about starting one. Creating a homeless coalition will help with getting others involved. You can also call the coalition at 1-800-VET-HELP
There is a organization called “Welcome Home: A Community for Veterans”. Veterans are able to stay at this organization for 90 days. This facility was established to help Veterans build a strong foundation for the future. This program partners with Supported Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). For those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.