Homeless veterans are the people who have served in armed forces but now living without any proper accommodation. Being homeless is defined as “a person who doesn’t have any fixed, safe and secure place to stay at night”. In order to prevent homelessness in America, first we need to understand who is suffering most from it.
We also need to evaluate the needs and requirements of the population suffering from this situation. The United States is one of the richest countries in the world but on one night in 2018,552,830 Americans were homeless. That gives us a clear picture of homelessness in America. According to these stats, every 17 people out of 10,000 are homeless in America.
Now the question is, how many of them are veterans? According to the U.S department of housing and urban development, at least 40,056 out of these 553,742 are homeless veterans.
Many of them are staying in temporary shelters or transitional housing programs. Few of them are living in very poor conditions which are not suitable for humans such as cars, in encampments or on the streets.
There are few shelter homes for veterans in United States. There are also few NGOs who offer temporary accommodation to war veterans as well as to other homeless persons, but no solid or permanent solution is available for them. There are homeless veterans in almost every state of the country but most of them are living in California (24.5%) and Florida (7.4%).
The U.S department of veteran affairs states that the majority of homeless veterans are male. Nearly 57% of them are white male Americans and one-third of them are African Americans and 5% of them belong to multi racialism. Majority of them are single and suffers from poor health conditions, malnutrition and substance abuse.
Homeless Veteran’s Health Conditions:
Homeless veterans as compared to other homeless people in American suffer from poor to very poor health conditions. They have little to no access to proper health care services and almost half of them are suffering from chronic health issues.
Health problems faced by these veterans are of diverse nature and does not fit into any accurate health framework. They suffer both physical and mental chronic health problems. The most common physical health problems faced by homeless veterans are diabetes, cancer, hypertension, pulmonary issues, and heart-related problems.
Mental health issues include bipolar disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia and substance abuse issues. Other issues such as ulcers and malnutrition are caused by living in poor and unhygienic health conditions.
A solid infrastructure is the need of time to deal with all of the aforementioned health issues in these homeless veterans who swore to protect our land and suffered harsh conditions to keep the oath. This offers a complete challenge to all health care professionals and to the domain of health care services to deal with this complex health needs of homeless veterans.
On the contrary, veteran women have less medical and psychological problems as compared to veteran men in the United States of America. More than one-third of the veteran women have already experienced military sexual traumas (MST) and they have less substance abuse ratio and mental health problems than veteran men.
The number of women in armed forces is increasing with every passing year. According to research, they are of 15% of the total active-duty members. That means that the ratio of women veteran will be 12% of the total veterans in the country in 2025.
This number will keep on increasing with every passing year. Women veterans will be at the risk of more homelessness problems than ever before. Moreover, women veterans are not alone, they have children and family with them who are also facing homelessness as compared to men veterans.
Each veteran is different as are their needs. We need to understand their requirements individually and treat them. Scars of the war are left behind and taken their toll on veterans. They are left to deal with the brutalities they have experienced during the war and deal with it all alone.
Shelter Homes for Veterans
The following resources are available for veterans who face homelessness alone or with their families. Please refer to someone who is in need of this information.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The U.S department of housing and urban development helps people who are facing homelessness in any part of the country. They help over 1 million people every year and provide them with transitional, emergency or permanent housing schemes. They have also been serving veterans as well.
Veterans can reach out to HUD at any time and ask for financial counseling’s services. The good news is, counseling is 100% free and they will guide you about buying or renting a home. If you a defaulter on a mortgage or credit problems, they can also help you with reverse mortgages.
Veterans can contact their local HUD office in person or by calling the hotline (877) 424-3838. Calling on this number is absolutely free and is available 24/7. Details can also be viewed on the HUD exchange.
The National Coalition For Homeless Veterans (NCHV)
The national coalition for homeless Veterans is a 501 © (3) is a non-profit organization that is located in Washington D.C. It is managed by 23 members of the organization who happen to be the board of directors. They are working hard to eliminate homelessness among veterans in United States. (NCHV) acts like community-based service providers who are serving both local and state-level homeless people. They are working tirelessly to provide shelters to homeless veterans and have helped almost 60% of them each year. (NCHV) provides transitional or emergency housing shelters. They also provide food, health care services, legal services, job training and case management support for thousands of veterans every year.
For immediate help, please go through their official website and have access to all the information in detail.
This is another organization that provides shelter homes for homeless veterans as well as for people in need. They support homeless people by providing shelters in form of groups. They have established transitional and emergency shelter homes at different locations. The duration of the stay depends upon individual needs. Salvation Army shelter camps also provide food, education counseling and vocational services.
If you are looking for a shelter home or you know someone in need, please contact local Salvation Army corps community centers for further details.
United way worldwide
This organization provides confidential support to all homeless veterans across the country. They allow veterans to utilize their resources and arrange housing and food services for themselves and for their families.
Anyone can contact them by calling 2-1-1. This hotline is 100% free and guarantees confidentiality.
This service is totally dedicated to providing housing, food and health care services to our armed forces veterans. All the veterans who are facing homelessness can contact them for shelter. VA also provides employment services.
Veterans who are homeless or currently at the verge of becoming homeless, can contact VA’s community resource and referral centers or VA medical centers and get all the details.
VA also has special programs for veterans who are facing disability issues. If you want to know more about their services, please contact 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). This number is 100% free and veterans, as well as their families seeking help, can contact anytime.
Now the question is, are these services reliable? Are they really helping homeless veterans in the United States? The answer is yes, they are doing or at least trying to do their best to eradicate homelessness in the country. But they need to be more organized and expand their services to each and every part of the country.
Despite the services all of the above-mentioned organizations are providing, still too many veterans are still in the streets. We need to make sure that there are no veterans left on the streets. Our veterans fought for the country, now it is the country’s responsibilities to fight for them and provide them with all the necessities of life. It is our duty to settle them in healthy and hygienic living conditions. Anyone looking to help can checkout homeless shelter directory to find the nearest location. You can deliver food and clothing to help homeless veterans. Do your part and hope for the best.