As part of the course requirements for my Community Psychology class this Fall (BIS343, for all you academics), we were required to do a term research project on a social problem in the United States. Going against the tide but with my personal research interests, I asked my professor if it would be alright if I did mine on the problem of homelessness among U.S. veterans. She was intrigued – no one had ever asked to research that particular problem before – so she said “yes.” I am thankful she did, as it has served as the catalyst for engaging me to take further action, to look more deeply into this problem than I previously had. Considering my professed passion for veterans advocacy work, it was about time I opened my eyes more fully to this.

I am posting some of my research materials here. Believe me – this is just a tiny sampling of what I have, and of what is out there. Homelessness among veterans is a huge problem, so quite a lot has been researched and written about it. Tragically, that’s not translated well into effective action being taken on behalf of homeless veterans themselves. But this has become something that I want to be more involved with, to try to help. At best, the Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA) answer to veteran homelessness is ineffective; at worst, it’s criminal.

The system is broken. If we don’t come to grips with that fact, the OIF and OEF veterans who are soon to be returning en masse – suffering from PTSD, TBI, the strain of multiple deployments and the toll that that takes, not just on soldiers (sailors, Marines, airmen…) but on their families as well (and hence, the soldier’s support system) – are going to make care for the Vietnam era vets look like a cakewalk, and we are not ready.

The latest estimates are that up to 40% of the homeless male population in the U.S. are veterans. How can this be?! And there are homeless women veterans as well. Where do they go? Who is watching their backs? Many have suffered sexual abuse, both inside and outside of their military service. Is forcing them into dangerous shelters, where they are routinely exposed to yet more trauma, the answer? It goes without saying that that applies to male veterans as well, and approximately 96% of the veteran homeless population are men.

These men and women, whether they be combat veterans or guardians during peacetime, have served us all. Forcing them out onto the street – or to shelters, benches, farms, parks, underpasses, hilltops, mountainsides, dumpsters – is a disgraceful way to say, “Thank you for putting your ass on the line for me; thumbs up, dude.” At the very least, they are due the benefits they have been promised, and have rightfully earned. They are not getting them.

I’m just the tiniest of blips on the Net. But part of my blog can serve as a source for information. Perhaps that’s all I can do for now, but at least I can do that much. When I began this blog last March, I posted that I didn’t want it to be yet another avenue for self-absorption; we have enough of that already in the world, especially in this culture.

Towards that end, this will be a recurring section of this site; updates will post as new information becomes available and seems reliable. This will include information on both homeless veterans’ issues and combat-related PTSD (my career field of interest). Links will open in a new window, with all information available for download (most in .pdf format). Unfortunately, I cannot post academic journal articles, as that would constitute copyright infringement. However, if anyone out there is searching for something and is interested, I can e-mail them for individual use. Just e-mail me if you are searching for specific info. Who knows – I just might have something you’re looking for, or could possibly point you in a useful direction.

NOTE: Take the governmental and VA reports for what you will.

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Veteran Homelessness in the U.S. ~ Facts, Statistics and General Information:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

WA State Dep’t of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) & WA state veterans support:

MISCELLANY (as well as the most interesting, and probably, most useful):

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