Veterans Housing Crisis
The Nature of the Problem:
- No one knows how many Veterans are homeless, it is estimated that on any given night, from 200,000 to 400,000 Veterans are homeless.
- This represents 25% of the national homeless population, even though Veterans account for 10% of the general population.
- This is a national tragedy that can and should be addressed.
- In 2006, the Health Care for Homeless Veterans program conducted clinical assessments on 60,587 homeless Veterans.
- About 43% served during the Vietnam Era, 11% in the Persian Gulf, and a growing percentage reported service in Iraq.
- 60% of the Veterans seen in the program were living in temporary shelters or outdoors at the time of contact and 39% had been homeless for six months or more.
- These people are not homeless by choice. This is a complex problem.
- In some cases, combat and military life profoundly affects Veterans who cannot reintegrate into civilian life, leaving their famlies, homes and jobs, and become homeless.
- In other cases, physical, or other injuries create barriers to employment and housing that result in homelessness.
- Recent data shows the returning female veterans are becoming homeless at a rate of 4%.
- Without a safe home it is hard for a Veteran to focus on "getting and staying better".
- Once a Veteran has a roof over his or her head, medical treatment, counseling, job placement, and other social services have a much greater chance of success.
- A multidisciplinary approach that houses, treats, counsels, and places vets in jobs has the highest chance of successfully breaking the cycle of homelessness.
An Urgent and Growing Problem
- There is an increased need for housing and social services to support the men and women returning from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- There will be more cases of post traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological, as well as physical injuries that put Veterans at risk of becoming homeless.