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 the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs, there are approximately 144,000 veterans that are homeless on any given day.
Why are veterans between the ages of 18 and 30 twice as likely to be homeless?
High rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, sexual trauma, and other mental health issues contribute to this issue. Additionally, many veterans are considered at risk of homelessness because of poverty, lack of support from family and friends, substance use, and unstable living conditions.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans suggests assisting veterans struggling with homelessness by donating personal care items, food, or cash contributions to emergency shelters. You can also volunteer as a mentor, counselor, or legal aid to veterans in transitional or supportive permanent housing.
We should raise awareness for this issue, advocating for all veterans returning home, to have a home.
Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are strongly encouraged to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance. If Veterans do not have access to a phone or the internet, only then are they able to visit their closest VA medical center without calling in advance.