The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developement (HUD) estimates that 33,129 veterans are homeless on any given night. Of these veterans, 59% are staying in shelters or programs similar to ours.
Veteran homelessness is complicated and there are multiple factors that lead to it. Here are just some of the things we see at the Mission.
The most common factor is PTSD. Many veterans experience significant trauma that leads to Post-Tramatic Stess Disorder (PTSD). Veterans diagnosed with PTSD often struggle to maintain jobs, homes and relationships.
Many of the veterans we serve also suffer with disabilities and chronic health conditions that come with unique challenges.
We also see a lot of vets that experience difficulty navigating available resources. What was once easily accessable on military bases now has to be sought after through other entities placed through the community. Also, military occupations and training do not always transfer to the civilian workforce. This can put our vets at a disadvantage when competing for jobs.
These unique struggles that our veterans experience often lead them to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with trauma.
The face of homeless vets continues to change. They are no longer just Vietnam vets suffering from severe PTSD. They are men and women from all ages and all walks of life.
The reality is 89% of vets experiencing homelessness received an honorable discharge and of those, 67% served 3 or more years. They served our country well and unfortunately, trauma led them down the path of homelessness.
No matter what circumstances brought them to the Mission, we are called to help them get back on their feet and find recovery, purpose, and life.
Last year, the Mission served 40 armed forces veterans. Their needs and their recovery journey are unique. The needs for these vets are great but we stand ready to help these veterans find their way back to their Jeremiah 29:11.