FACT: 43% of Homeless Males Over 25 are Veterans!

Fact:  If military service were not a causal factor in veteran homelessness, only 27% of homeless would be veterans! 

In a previous post I’ve documented sources for several statistics relevant to homeless veterans.  The data in that post has been carefully researched and represent a significant improvement from my earlier attempts.  These new statistics include the percent of the total male homeless over 25 that are veterans (43%).    Let me present a couple of relevant charts for those of us who are more visually oriented.

US vs Veteran Population

The chart at the left shows that veterans make up 11.7% of the total US population 18 or older. 

 The figures are documented in the document linked above.

Our total population is 301.9 million and 74.6 percent of us are 18 or older, old enough to enlist.  That works out to be just over 225 million, male and female.

The veteran count, also documented in the link above, includes both wartime and peace time living veterans.

                                                                                                                                              

Male US Population vs VeteransThe chart at the left is the same except only the male populations are charted.  

I’ve chosen to use this chart as it more reasonably represents the age and demographics of homeless veterans. 

We also get to compare similar demographics between charts.   Less than 1% of veterans under 25 are homeless.  Less than 0.3% of homeless vets are women.

 The total US Male population 25 and older is 93,800,000.   The total male veterans 25 and older is 24,910,000.

Male Veterans Make Up 27% Of  Male Population Over 25.

                                                                                                                                                       

43% of Homeless Men Over 25 are Veterans!

25 and older male homeless vetsThe chart at the left shows that male homeless veterans make up 43% of the male homeless over 25.  The data is documented in the previous post link above.

If the homeless veterans were representative of the US male population, you would expect that the last two charts would look very similar. 

You would expect the male homeless veterans to represent about 27% of the homeless population

Veterans are grossly overrepresented  in the homeless population.

                                                                                                                                                

The Department of Veterans Affairs says this about the homeless veterans:

Although many homeless veterans served in combat in Vietnam and suffer from PTSD, at this time, epidemiological studies do not suggest that there is a causal connection between military service, service in Vietnam, or exposure to combat and homelessness among veterans.”

The VA Claims “No Causal Connection To Service”

OK, I think the charts above put the lie to that statement.  If there were no causal relationship, the homeless veterans would total less than 123,000 instead of the 200,000 that are homeless on any given night and the pie charts would look essentially the same.  It is my opinion that PTSD and substance abuse problems acquired while in service play a major role in the lives of homeless veterans.  

The VA goes out of its way to try to acquit PTSD and combat service as causal effects.  Why do that do that?  Why even bring it up at all?  Could it be that they know that military service is a factor to homeless veterans (big time)  but do not want to pay for it?  Smoke screens that try to let us believe they have considered those things and found them not a factor?   Well….  something is a factor and it is time the VA took its head out of the sand!

I call on our Congress to get to the bottom of this and fix it. 

These are men and women that put on uniforms and took up arms in service to our country and so far our country has been too cheap to treat them as the Heroes that they are.

Oldtimer:  Click for All Homeless Veteran Posts.  

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3 responses to “FACT: 43% of Homeless Males Over 25 are Veterans!

  1. Hello Oldtimer,
    I read an article from Kristin Henderson which led me to read about H.R. 6003. I wrote to the politicians who are supposed to represent me and those directly from my state on the Armed Forces Committee — as to the status of the bill– no contact returned from them at all. I posted Kristin Henderson’s article, the bill and the link to the Iraq War Clinician Guide Traumatic Grief:
    http://olotliny.wordpress.com/2007/02/21/psychological-kevlar-act-hr-6003/
    This report documents that only one (?-how do we know for sure) study was done on Combat Vietnam Veterans. Even so…. it states: “The
    intensity of symptoms experienced after thirty years was similar to that reported in community
    samples of grieving spouses and parents at six months post-loss. This supports clinical observations that unresolved grief, if left untreated, can continue unabated and increases the distress load of veterans.” It was a well written report (what I read—it documents that PTSD is not a mental illness–rather it is a reaction/result of the whole body and mind to the acute and chronic stresses endured by the Veteran/solider and needs to be treated immediately and follow-up provided by people who are well trained. What I am hopeful for is the Vietnam, Korean Veteran’s who did not receive the help, respect and treatment (as mentioned in the post deployment service) –will be getting it with those who are returning today as a result of the new research and public awareness and hopefully political accountability…. Those in law/medicine/clergy/education should be trained as to what to look for as triggers and agitators and what and where to go for help.
    I thank you for all you are doing. You inspire and encourage us all to reach out to those in our communities and not just look the other way.
    Sincerely,
    Melissa

  2. Hello Oldtimer,
    I was wondering if you have any suggestions on the most effective way to help our Veterans who are homeless-(I understand the difference between houseless and homeless). Does contacting our Representatives in Government really help?
    Melissa

  3. Thank you Melissa for asking. Coming from you and all you do at olotliny, I’m humbled.
    To tell you the truth, before I started blogging, I was running a discussion forum on homeless and someone from the VA inquired about joining. I looked around and was ashamed that I had no topics that focused on homeless veterans, so I started a little research and found it incredably under served and virtually overlooked. Looking deeper, I found that much of the country’s homeless problem is homeless veteran related.
    There are a lot of organizations trying to help and the VA is actually doing a good job on what they are doing and they are very well intentioned and concerned.
    The problem on the VA end is a little ‘out of sight…” e.g. no visibility of the problem so the VA funding is only a fraction of what is needed.
    I still run the discussion forum but I decided to open a new front that had more visibilty and to see if I could get national attention to the problem. What I’m seeing is that even Anderson Cooper, who has done at least two stories, is not making much headway either.
    (I’ve got to go, someone with blown tire needs some help) I’ll finish later.

    OK, I’m back. (Daughter in Law’s mother blew out a tire and ruined another on a curb near here – had to run fix).

    Veterans need more help than the average homeless person, even more than most “chronic” homeless due to service acquired PTSD, drug and alcohol problems. The need is for government and private funding for transitional housing with specialized treatment services. Most VA sponsored programs are too short and too underfunded – not enough capacity to make a dent.

    There is not a lot we can do other than individually volunteer and individually lobby for high visibility champions. Right now there are very few. In one post I mentioned that we need 1.2 Billion just to pay the rent on enough apartments. That won’t work w/o the corresponding treatment programs too. So there is more money than that needed. Somehow we need to find leaders in Congress to champion the homeless vets and find ways to educate the concerned people in this country on the need..

    I’ll do some more thinking and get back to you.

    Jim

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