posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 07:37 PM
The US Department of Veterans Affairs reveals: "On any given day, as many as 250,000 veterans (male and female) are living on the streets or in
shelters, and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year." Thats an awful lot, and the situation is even
bleaker when you look at the percentages. (www.va.gov)
Veterans comprise 6 percent of the overall population, but they're 23 percent of the homeless. Of all homeless men, one-third are vets.
Fourty-six percent of homeless vets are 45 or older, compared to 20 percent of the civilian homeless.
The VA says that "the number of homeless male and female vietnam era veterans is greater than the number of service persons who deid during that
Though almost half of homeless vets (47 percent) served during 'Nam, they've also served in WW2 and every war since, not to mention during
peacetime. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans cites federal figures: "more than 67 percent served our country for at least three years and
33 percent were stationed in a war zone."
Peter Dougherty, Director of Homeless Veterans Programs at the VA, candidly told the Los Angeles Times (29 May 2004): "Traditionally, what happens to
you after you leave has not been a concern of the service."
To give some credit, the VA and Defense Department are doing a little to change that, but they still reach only 20 to 25 percent of the homeless vets.
Many nonprofits are trying to fill the gap, from the above-mentioned National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (www.nchv.org) to local efforts, such as
the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans in Boston.