Here’s a thought for “Veterans” Day: one out of nine people in the US is a veteran but one out of four homeless persons is a veteran. That’s something for Americans to be proud of for sure. Support Our Troops is either just a slogan or they stop being worthy of support when they stop being cannon fodder:
And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.
The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.
In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000. (AP via Yahoo; hat tip daedulus)
The Vietnam veteran experience was bad but apparently the Iraq/Afghanistan vet experience is worse. It took about ten years for Vietnam vets to show up in homeless shelters. The early presence of today’s combat vets is a very bad sign. If the mental health consequences are as bad as current indications, we are in for a social service catastrophe for veterans. Of course we are also cutting the budget for social services. don’t want to raise those taxes. Support our Tax Cuts!
The Iraq vets seeking help with homelessness are more likely to be women, less likely to have substance abuse problems, but more likely to have mental illness ? mostly related to post-traumatic stress, said Pete Dougherty, director of homeless veterans programs at the VA.
Overall, 45 percent of participants in the VA’s homeless programs have a diagnosable mental illness and more than three out of four have a substance abuse problem, while 35 percent have both, Dougherty said.
If I hear one more chickenhawk tell us we have to “Support our Troops” and then turn around and argue we can’t afford to do what’s needed because it will raise our taxes I think I will explode.
You broke ’em. You fix ’em.