“We’re not going to rest until every Veteran who has fought for America has a home in America.”
— President Barack Obama, August 2014
September leads to October and then November, as winter looms the issues of veteran housing becomes more important. Colder temperatures and inclement weather means that vets without proper housing are more at risk than during the warmer summer months.
Out of the estimated 500,000 veterans who are or will be homeless during the year, the VA manages to help 20 percent of them. That leaves 400,000 vets at risk. Ensuring that veteran housing remains reasonable and available is left to non-profit organizations, local community charities and homeless shelters.
Why are there so many homeless vets?
Even though veterans make up less than eight percent of our population, approximately 17 percent of our homeless are veterans. Research has shown that lack of societal support and social isolation are the leading causes of homelessness among our veterans.
Reintegration with society can be difficult for veterans. Divorce rates are higher while marriage rates are lower than for the rest of society. One out of five veterans live alone. Without a societal support system, these vets have a much higher risk of losing their housing and being turned out on the street. Veteran housing is a major concern.
Government sponsored veteran housing programs
The Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (VASH) program is the most visible effort made by the federal government, but it is not the only one. The government, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has sponsored or is involved with programs to ensure that veterans housing remains affordable and available.
State and local governments are also involved in ensuring that there are options for veterans needing assistance with housing. Although shelters are not a desirable destination, those options remain in most urban areas.
Another big part of the problem is the veteran agency game of “pass the buck.” There are very few programs in Los Angeles where a service provider will take on a veteran case and manage their situation completely until they are safe in a stable home.
From our article Homeless Women Vets: No Housing and Lack of Accountability. Read the complete article here.
Areas of concern for veterans
To ensure that veterans can integrate with society, there are three major areas of concern:
Healthcare gets the majority of current attention because of the various scandals rocking the VA, at this time. The other two areas, although separate, are linked. Veteran housing and employment are both cornerstones of societal reintegration. Keeping veterans out of poverty means keeping them employed and housed. By removing either of those two fundamentals, veterans slip into poverty and are at risk.
Non-profit and private efforts
The United States has a well-earned reputation for giving and charitable works. There are many private organizations that have been established with their only goal being the solving of veteran housing problems. The aforementioned Green Doors in Central Texas, for one.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) is a nationally recognized resource for veterans who are concerned about housing. Whether involved in national recognition of veteran housing issues or ensuring that any veteran can get housing in an emergency, the NCHV has proven that their concern is with the veterans.
Ending the veteran homelessness problem
More than 300,000 veterans will sleep on the streets tonight. Those men and women don’t feel that they have a choice, that they have any options, or that anyone cares about their plight. The calls to end the problems of veteran housing have come from all levels of our society and need to be taken seriously.
We need to be helping these veterans who have given so much to us and have asked so little in return.
Please donate now and help the NVF help veterans.
Green Doors, Veteran Homelessness Facts (https://www.greendoors.org/facts/veteran-homelessness.php)
Veterans Inc. Veterans and Homelessness (http://www.veteransinc.org/about-us/)
Department of Veterans’ Affairs, HUD-VASH Resource Guide (https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/docs/Center/144_HUD-VASH_Book_WEB_High_Res_final.pdf)
HUD Exchange, Resources for Homeless Veterans (https://www.hudexchange.info/homelessness-assistance/resources-for-homeless-veterans/)
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans http://www.nchv.org/
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