1/4th Of Homeless In US Are Veterans

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1/4th Of Homeless In US Are Veterans

Post by FSTargetDrone »

AP article in full here:
Posted on Thu, Nov. 8, 2007

Study: 25% of U.S. homeless are veterans

Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Lonnie Bowen Jr. was once a social worker, but for 17 years the Vietnam War veteran has slept on the streets off and on as he's battled substance abuse and mental-health problems.

"It's been a hard struggle," said Bowen, 62, as he rolled a cigarette outside a homeless-processing center in Center City Philadelphia, where he planned to seek help for his drug and alcohol problem, as he has before.

Every night, hundreds of thousands of veterans like Bowen are without a home.

Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released today by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public-education nonprofit.

Homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.

The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs specifically targeting homelessness.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau.

Data from 2005 estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.

In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000.


Some advocates say the early presence of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took roughly a decade for the lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the point that they started showing up among the homeless.
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Post by Stravo »

I wonder how many are mentally ill? The Army recently had an issue with droves of people they were discharging who became mentally ill while on duty due to PSD and other issues relating to their deployment and the Army stated they were ill before they joined up thus not entitled to greater benefits.

We have historically treated our vets rather shoddily and its no different now. There's always those moments of outrage then everyone forgets and moves on. A lot easier to do now that all vets are now volunteers and not draftees.
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Post by General Zod »

Stravo wrote:I wonder how many are mentally ill? The Army recently had an issue with droves of people they were discharging who became mentally ill while on duty due to PSD and other issues relating to their deployment and the Army stated they were ill before they joined up thus not entitled to greater benefits.

We have historically treated our vets rather shoddily and its no different now. There's always those moments of outrage then everyone forgets and moves on. A lot easier to do now that all vets are now volunteers and not draftees.
There's also the problem of a lot of military people leaving with skills that have limited to no use in the civilian market.
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Post by Knife »

Stravo wrote:I wonder how many are mentally ill? The Army recently had an issue with droves of people they were discharging who became mentally ill while on duty due to PSD and other issues relating to their deployment and the Army stated they were ill before they joined up thus not entitled to greater benefits.

We have historically treated our vets rather shoddily and its no different now. There's always those moments of outrage then everyone forgets and moves on. A lot easier to do now that all vets are now volunteers and not draftees.
I agree. However I do know that there are programs out there for these people, sometimes it's a matter of getting them the help that is available rather than getting help available. Either way though, it's a disgrace.
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Post by Dartzap »

Strange. Over here, the Forces tend to give their employees good working skills for civie street. Someone I know is currently doing a plumbing course in between taking potshots at the Taliban.

As for mental illness and brain injuries amongst troops - it's a fairly large issues and its going to become more important the longer the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq last.

The BRL is trying to do their part, of course, but they are becoming as stretched as the Army.
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Post by MKSheppard »

This is complete fucking bullshit. Read Stolen Valor for an explanation of this.

Sadly, with the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq; it's now possible for 20 somethings and 30somethings to claim to be "vets". It was so much simpler in the late 1980s and early 1990s; when if someone walked into the VA clinic claiming to be a Vietnam war vet, but was only 20~ you could easily dismiss them.
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Post by Edi »

It has been discussed in the Mess in the past, but I suspect one of the things is a difference between methods of training regarding killing people and how it is handled. Rob Wilson's descriptions of what they did and how in the British armed forces was in some respects markedly different from the equivalents of the US training and I remember him being fairly flabbergasted at some of the stuff that was in that thread.

IIRC the conclusion from that thread was that the US forces did not do as good a job of mentally training and preparing their men, which left them more susceptible to the kind of problems being talked about here. However, that thread was a long time ago, so it is perhaps a good idea for the Mess members to go and revisit it. The Brits at least do not seem to have these problems at such rates, so there may be something to that.
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Post by MKSheppard »

It may come as a surprise to you Edi; but not everyone has the stringent vetting process that the Mess does.

For most programs, all the proof you really need is a mumbled "I was a vet", and some vague catchprases. A badly forged copy of a DD214 doesn't hurt either.

This applies triple to the media; which takes everything at face value, and not doing any kind of research or vetting.
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Post by Lonestar »

General Zod wrote:
There's also the problem of a lot of military people leaving with skills that have limited to no use in the civilian market.
I disagree, if for no other reason that corporate employers have found former military to be more punctual and professional, and are sought after because of that even if they do require a bit of training. Forgetting for the moment that mechanics, electronics techs, IT types, nuclear reactor types, welders, machine smiths, etc are all sought after in the civilian job market.
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Post by General Zod »

Lonestar wrote: I disagree, if for no other reason that corporate employers have found former military to be more punctual and professional, and are sought after because of that even if they do require a bit of training. Forgetting for the moment that mechanics, electronics techs, IT types, nuclear reactor types, welders, machine smiths, etc are all sought after in the civilian job market.
On the other hand, the ones most likely to develop things like PTSD and other mental problems that would land them in situations like the OP describes are infantry. How much in the way of relevant job skill training would they be likely to receive?
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Post by CmdrWilkens »

General Zod wrote:
Lonestar wrote: I disagree, if for no other reason that corporate employers have found former military to be more punctual and professional, and are sought after because of that even if they do require a bit of training. Forgetting for the moment that mechanics, electronics techs, IT types, nuclear reactor types, welders, machine smiths, etc are all sought after in the civilian job market.
On the other hand, the ones most likely to develop things like PTSD and other mental problems that would land them in situations like the OP describes are infantry. How much in the way of relevant job skill training would they be likely to receive?
In the Army today aside from leadership and management skills (which anyone who could rise to Sgt would have) there are a whole host of things from communications to most semi-skilled labor jobs.
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Post by Lonestar »

Hell, the Military Times can't go for 6 months without mentioning that Infantry-types are getting hired as law enforcement left and right.
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Post by Aaron »

General Zod wrote:
On the other hand, the ones most likely to develop things like PTSD and other mental problems that would land them in situations like the OP describes are infantry. How much in the way of relevant job skill training would they be likely to receive?
Actually PTSD rates are pretty regular amongst all trades. It affects everyone without regard for trade or trauma exposure. Even Social Workers develop it from vicarious truamatisation, IE: hearing everyone else's experiances all the time. Given some time I might be able to dig up some stats from my Vets organisation if you want them but I'll have to wait till my supervisor comes back from his conference.
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Post by Darth Wong »

Lonestar wrote:Hell, the Military Times can't go for 6 months without mentioning that Infantry-types are getting hired as law enforcement left and right.
The demand for police officers is not unlimited though, and "semi-skilled" is not a great way to earn a living.
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Post by Lonestar »

Darth Wong wrote: The demand for police officers is not unlimited though, and "semi-skilled" is not a great way to earn a living.

Fair enough. But folks who have been in the service for a while tend to get hired as much for their maegerial skills than any technical skill. (Not to helpful for the 4 year cooks, I admit...)
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Post by CmdrWilkens »

Darth Wong wrote:
Lonestar wrote:Hell, the Military Times can't go for 6 months without mentioning that Infantry-types are getting hired as law enforcement left and right.
The demand for police officers is not unlimited though, and "semi-skilled" is not a great way to earn a living.
Go to any major urban center in the US and they are dying for more cops. The demand in not unlimited but compare the population levels and there are a LOT more law enforcement jobs. As of 2004 there were more than 1.4 million sworn officers in the US which exceeds the total population of the US Armed Forces even before one accounts for the fact that less than 1 in 7 members is in the combat arms and of those you will still have large numbers with other technical skills. Simply put the supply of jobs in law enforcement exceeds the supply of jobs in the armed forces so its a highly available post military career choice. Moreover it remains one of the few professions with honest pension plans and decent benifits for semi-skilled labor while the pay rates tend to be not that great they are certainly enough to qualify as lower-middle class in most locales.
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Post by Zwinmar »

Could I be a cop? yes, I already have the training for it and it wouldnt take much for me to get onto the force. While I was in, they 'said' we could go to college, in reality, when out in the field, which we were at least 85% of the time, we did not have that opporunity.

That is a problem with all combat arms, the personnel have plenty of training but they do not have a piece of paper saying that they have that training. I had 7 credits transfer in for college, a measly 7 for four years of my life. Only 1 was for physical education, which is just sad. There was a time that I could out run the track team, to the tune of 3 miles in 19:45 minutes (32 minutes for a full combat load and pack carrying the SAW). I could easily run a six minute mile.

However, a lot of the skills learned do not have a ready equivalent in civilian society, except for a swat team, an infantryman doesnt have the skills necissary. The negotiation skills that cops, for example, should possess.

I didnt wish to flip burgers the rest of my life, so I am in college, majoring in history.
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