The presence of additional risk for homelessness specifically associated with Veteran status is puzzling in that it occurs among a population that shows better outcomes on almost all socioeconomic measures and that has exclusive access to an extensive system of benefits that include comprehensive healthcare services, disability and pension assistance, and homeless services (Fargo, et al, 24).
In spite of having many advantages, veterans over-represent in the homeless population. The question “Why?” begs an answer. Forty years have passed since the Vietnam Conflict ended and homeless veterans became a representative image in American society. Surprisingly, it appears there are no studies on the factors contributing to homelessness among veterans using recent data. The most recent collection of such data was in a 1984 – 1988 study called The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). The purpose of the study was “to determine their mental health status and their ability to readjust to civilian life. The NVVRS did not specifically analyze homelessness. However, study published in 1994 used data from the NVVRS to examine homelessness specifically” (Perl, 16).
The 1994 study found that the single largest contributing factor to veteran homelessness is “social isolation, measured by low levels of support in the first year after discharge from military service, together with the status of being unmarried, had the strongest association with homelessness of the 18 factors examined in the study” (Perl, 17). Perl states that other significant contributing factors are non-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) related mental disorders and substance abuse. The study also showed that PTSD, combat exposure and p...
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... Internet Ventures. 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Perl, Libby. Veterans and Homelessness. November 29, 2013. RL34024. Web. March 4, 2014.
Solari, C., Cortes, A., and Brown, S. United States. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Office of Community Planning and Development. The 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, Volume II Estimates of Homelessness in the United States. Washington. GPO: 2012. Web. March 1, 2014.
Women Veteran Profile (cited as such). United States. The Department of Veterans Affairs. Women Veteran Profile. Washington. VA: 2013. Web. March 4, 2014.
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