Are combat Veterans more likely to experience homelessness?
Have you ever wondered about homeless Veterans and if their service in combat contributes to homelessness at higher rates than their non-combat/peacetime service Veteran counterpoints?
Over the last 12 years, Veterans Matter has housed over 7400 homeless Veterans. When we look at our data, we see that 19% of our Veterans served during the Vietnam War, 18% served in Desert Storm, 16% served in OEF/OIF & OND and 47% served during Peacetime. In reviewing the data, we see that 47% of our Veterans served during peacetime and 53% of our Veterans served during a time of war.
Why are combat Veterans more likely to experience homelessness?
Our Veterans who have served in combat, experienced traumatic events during their service, including combat and exposure to improvised explosive devices. Additionally, many veterans returning home struggle with adjustment to civilian life and may struggle to find employment or housing.
The transition from military to civilian life can be difficult for many veterans. The sense of mission and camaraderie is often difficult to replace in the civilian world. Combine this with physical and mental trauma, and it can be challenging for veterans to adapt to a new normal. Many veterans also face challenges with family and social support systems, financial stability, and navigating the bureaucracy of accessing benefits and services.
Who is helping? How can I help?
Fortunately, there are organizations that are dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness among Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of resources to support homeless veterans, including housing assistance, job training, and case management services. Private and public organizations like Helmets to Hardhats, the Gary Sinise Foundation, Tunnels to Towers Foundation, Veterans Matter, Home Depot and Homes for Our Troops also offer support to veterans, including permanent supportive housing, employment, financial assistance and home ownership and accessibility modifications.
The most successful programs develop partnerships that bring a wholistic approach, providing wraparound services that address the physical and mental health needs of veterans, as well as other barriers to stability, such as legal issues or lack of job skills.
Homelessness among veterans is a tragic, but preventable reality. With continued attention and resources dedicated to this issue, we can improve the lives of those who have served our country and ensure that every veteran has access to a safe and secure place to call home.