The United States is the greatest nation on earth economically and militarily. Its strength comes from its values as spelled out in the Constitution. More specifically, the US thrives because it believes in freedom, justice, peace, and prosperity. However, liberty comes at a price, and US soldiers pay the price for it. Some of them died fighting for this great country. Others survived the wars and made it home. In 2014, the US had 21.8 million military veterans. California had 1.6 million. Texas and Florida had 1.6 million veterans each. Michigan had 658,469.
Unfortunately, veterans continue to face challenges in life even when they come back from war. One of the biggest obstacles they face is homelessness. In 2014, the US had 49,933 veterans who did not have homes. That represented 8.6% of the entire homeless population in the country. The reasons for such hardship among US veterans vary from one person to another. However, some common issues include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), unemployment, drug abuse, and medical disability.
– Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is prevalent among military veterans who served in conflict regions. For example, 31% of those who participated in the Vietnam War have it. Ten percent of those who took part in Desert Storm have it. Lastly, 11% and 20% of Afghan and Iraqi war veterans have PTSD. Unfortunately, those who are homeless have PTSD the most. For example, did you know that 66% of homeless veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from this medical condition? That is a startling figure and it would explain why homeless veterans of these two wars are committing suicide at such high rates.
– Unemployment among Homeless Veterans
The US economy is recovering slowly. Currently, the rate of unemployment is 5.1%. In Michigan alone, this rate stands at 5.4%. It is hard for veterans to get a job under harsh economic circumstances. More specifically, issues such as PTSD and medical disabilities make it difficult for them to find a good job that caters to their unique needs. In March 2015, the number of unemployed veterans across the United States stood at 573,000 veterans.
– Disability among Homeless Veterans Is High
Did you know that 53% of homeless veterans suffer from some disability? Sadly, many of them cannot access benefit payments because of endless bureaucracies. They deserve timely payment because they fought and suffered for this country. Sometimes, veterans hire veteran attorneys to help them fight for their rights.
You can play your part as well. For example, you can volunteer your services in aid of homeless veterans. Building a home for a homeless veteran is a good idea. Taking part in a campaign drive to construct homes for veterans is another good idea. You can also pay your part by donating to an organization such as the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Talk to those who run the organization and make sure they will put your money to good use. Finally, you can talk or write an email to your Congressional representative. Make sure he understands how important veteran issues are to you. Do something for them because they fought for you.