Did you know that approximately 49,933 veterans are homeless on any given night? According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, approximately 12,700 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) were homeless in 2010 and the number of young homeless veterans is increasing. Approximately 9% are between the ages of 18 and 30, and 41% are between the ages of 31 and 50. About 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
There is an extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care. A large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with PTSD and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of support networks. Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment (National Coalition for Homeless Veterans).
In 2009, the Obama Administration committed to ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Since 2010, there has been a 33 percent decrease in the number of homeless veterans. While this is good news, much more work needs to be done.