Serving in the military is seen as the most honorable thing one can do for the nation. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, there were 19 million military veterans in the United States in 2021. These individuals account for about 7% of the nation’s total population, but they also make up 13% of the adult population experiencing homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states that on any given night, over 40,000 veterans are forced to sleep on the streets. Why are these highly-respected individuals experiencing homeless?
According to Green Doors- a homelessness relief organization- there are approximately 76,000 veterans who are forced to sleep on the streets every night across the country. In fact, 17 percent of the population that experiences homelessness are veterans, who are 50 percent more likely to endure homelessness than any other American. Veterans are more likely to experience homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and discouraging living conditions such as overcrowded or inadequate housing. Currently, a shocking 1.5 million veterans are considered at-risk for undergoing homelessness. It is our duty to support our veterans and prevent them from experiencing homelessness after they have served our country.
Imagine putting your life on hold at a young age to travel overseas and defend your nation. You encounter long, restless years without laughing with your best friend, hugging your family members, eating your favorite food, or petting your dog. You survive all of those hardships, and it is time to return to your country at last. But just when you are supposed to relax and benefit from this experience, you are not guaranteed somewhere to live.
According to recent studies conducted in San Francisco by the University of San Francisco, between 30 and 40 percent of the homeless population in San Francisco experience a mental illness or substance abuse. Mental illnesses are often misunderstood as personal choices that someone has made for their lives when that is not the case. One …