In January of 2014, approximately 50,000 veterans were identified in the unites states, accounting for 9% of the homeless population as a whole. There are various reasons for these unsettling statistics including mental health and lack of specialized care.
As a result of traumatic experiences in combat situations veterans are at an increased risk for developing debilitating mental disorders, such as PTSD. This anxiety disorder makes it difficult to maintain relationships, hold down a job, and often leads to homelessness. Maintaining relationships is a crucial step in re-entering life outside of war because continued contact and immediate treatment help prevent additional mental problems. Holding down a job is also important as it allows the veteran to become self-reliant and independent which significantly improves their mental health. Also, Upon becoming homeless 50% of veterans resort to drugs and alcohol to solve their problems which makes it increasingly difficult to obtain employment and restart life.
To help combat this problem the V.A. and government should implement programs for veterans to receive employment opportunities as soon as possible and reach out to veterans to access their mental health and help them recover. This would decrease homeless population because by employing veterans right away the likelihood of them becoming successful increases, as it grants them independence and income.
Women have an increased risk of becoming homeless. This is due to organizations dedicated to helping veterans basing their services on the needs of males. This decreases the effectiveness of care for both women as they have gender-specific needs. A main cause of homelessness for women is MST, or military sexual trauma, and around 50% of homeless female veterans report having experienced it during service. “Homeless veterans who experienced MST demonstrated a significantly higher likelihood of almost all mental health conditions”( http://search.proquest.com/docview/1372021466/690A56EBB43D4F11PQ/1?accountid=36487) c All of these factors cause the women who suffered from this event to be at a greater risk of becoming homeless than other veterans. Specialized care and counseling for those who suffered from this are often not available through veteran organizations due to lack of gender specific care and offering these services would help decrease the population of homeless veterans.