A new study reveals that while veterans represent only 9 percent of the population nationwide, 15.2 percent of America’s homeless have served their country — and when compared to non-veterans, they are much more likely to die on the streets.
The 100,000 Homeless Campaign published the results of their latest study on Tuesday, the pages of which document the findings from the organization’s survey of 23,000 homeless people across the country. While the analysis in the pages of the report go into detail on the homeless situation affecting America in general, this particular edition also dives deep into discussing how series of a problems homelessness is with American veterans.
Most alarming perhaps is that veterans are 11 percentage points more likely to develop life-threatening diseases and die while on the streets when compared with others. The strife suffered by veterans is evident across the board too, with the study revealing that when compared to non-vets, they on average are without homes for longer, are older and suffer from multiple illnesses, both mental and physical.
In the closing of their report, the author explicitly states, "Men and women who risked their lives defending America may be far more likely to die on its streets.”
The report notes that the amount of time veterans spent during military operations will be revisited in length eight or nine times over back home, but sadly suffered on the streets of America. Volunteers quizzed 23,000 homeless — veterans and non — in 47 communities to get their statistics, which reveal that 62 percent of those that served have been on the streets for longer than two years, 53 percent suffered from a mental condition, 76 percent had issues with substance and abuse and nearly a quarter of the veterans polled were afflicted with all three. More than one-in-five said that they had received medical treatment in an ER or inpatient care facility more than three times in the 12 months prior to the study.
On average, the homeless veteran who has been on the street for more than two years has been in that situation for nearly triples that length; in those instances, the average tenure is nine years.
Aside from serious health issues, veterans are plagued with sickening unemployment statistics when they return home as well. “They are coming home to a disproportionate rate of homelessness, of foreclosures and evictions. In 2010 a whopping 75,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in the United States were homeless; were sleeping on the streets,” Iraq war veteran Michael Prysner tells RT. “They are coming home to an unemployment rate of about 30 percent for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This is triple the national average.”
Accounting for veterans of all American wars, the latest statistics courtesy of the White House show that the number of all homeless in the US accounts to nearly 900,000.
For those on the street that aren’t afflicted with serious medical issues, their only help often comes from confines where they are among those that are.
“When you come home, you’re foreclosed on, your job is gone, and then they want you to go to shelters. And shelters pretty much housing criminals, drug addicts, and a lot of us can’t tolerate that lifestyle,” homeless U.S. army veteran Joe Mangione tells RT.