As we pause today, on the national Veterans Day holiday, to honor all American veterans who have served this nation during times of war as well as peacetime, it is worth reflecting on how well we’re treating our veterans once they leave the military and re-enter civilian life.
According to most data points, our society has a long way to go when it comes to helping our veterans thrive in their post-military life.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, veterans are far more likely than non-veterans to experience homelessness.
“Like the general homeless population, veterans are at a significantly increased risk of homelessness if they have low socioeconomic status, a mental health disorder and/or a history of substance abuse,” the Alliance notes in a 2015 publication on veteran homelessness. “Yet, because of veterans’ military service, this population is at higher risk of experiencing traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, both of which have been found to be among the most substantial risk factors for homelessness.”
Veterans of color are at most risk of experiencing homelessness, according to federal housing data, with veterans who identify as Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Native American Indians and/or Black having the highest rates of homelessness among all veterans.