According to the Department of Veterans, approximately eleven percent of the homeless population, are veterans. Of that 11 percent, 45 percent of them are comprised from African-American or Hispanic descent.
Most of the homeless veterans are between the ages of 18 and 50. Most of these veterans served in World War II and the Korean War. Some served in the Cold War and the Vietnam War. With over half of them being in the Vietnam War.
They served their country for at least 3 years and most of them were stationed in war zones. Another 1.4 million veterans are considered to be high risk for homelessness due to poverty, lack of support and abysmal living conditions such as overcrowding in substandard housing facilities.
While there are no exact numbers of homeless, and the transient nature makes it difficult to ascertain, it’s estimated that at least 39,000 or more are homeless on any night.
Unfortunately, this number is on the rise and with more veterans leaving their service for their country and becoming civilians again, the number is rising. Conditions such as PTSD, substance abuse and the lack of family and support networks make it difficult for many to absorb back into civilian life.
Lack of training and jobs make it even more challenging. Often the military training doesn’t fully prepare them for civilian life and the workforce is tight as is. I know a local window and shutter company (click here) that hires veterans and know that they do a great job.
Compound this with skills that aren’t transferable and you have a recipe for disaster. The priority for our Veterans should be to give them safe and secure housing. Provide them with a good solid support network and get treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Focus on rebuilding the infrastructure of family and help them to secure jobs that utilize their skills.