Veterans and Housing
Lack of affordable housing is one of major causes that has contributed to a rise in homelessness over the last two and a half decades. Unfortunately, research has shown that veterans are among the groups most at-risk of homelessness. In fact, 13% of homeless adults are veterans, and according to estimates by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, on any given night, over 40,000 veterans are homeless.
Thanks to veterans’ housing assistance programs, these statistics represent a significant decrease (about 50%) from 2009—however, they’re still sobering. Though the US has made significant progress in addressing veteran homeless ness, there’s still a long way to go. About 1.5 million veterans are considered to be in danger of homelessness. Adequately addressing the problem of housing for veterans necessitates an understanding of the factors that cause it:
- Poverty. Many veterans struggle with transitioning into civilian jobs after leaving the military. The unemployment rate among veterans is high, and this fact, combined with a nationwide lack of affordable housing, means hundreds of thousands of veterans struggle to pay rent.
- Social Isolation. Re-integrating into the civilian world can be difficult, and as a result, social isolation and loneliness are rampant in the veteran population. This lack of social support is doubly dangerous as it means that veterans who are experiencing economic insecurity or a housing crisis may have no one to turn to for help.
- PTSD and Mental Health Problems. Veterans are at an added disadvantage because they are more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many veterans also suffer from mental illnesses such as depression. All of these conditions can make it difficult for veterans to maintain steady employment or advance economically.