A new report from the National Alliance to End Homelessnes says approximately 195,827 veterans were homeless on a given night—an increase of 0.8 percent from 194,254 in 2005. More veterans experience homeless over the course of the year. We estimate that 336,627 were homeless in 2006.
The report says, 1.98% of veterans from Oregon in 2006 were homeless (5,891), while 2.9% of veterans (10,125) vets are experiencing severe housing cost burden. In Washington, 1.04% (6,800) of veterans are homeless, while 2.5% (15,713) are experiencing severe housing costs burdens.
The New York Times reports that more than 400 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have turned up homeless, and the Veterans Affairs Department and aid groups say they are bracing for a new surge in homeless veterans in the years ahead.
Despite high rates of homelessness among U.S veterans, only one in four are receiving assistance from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a situation a national advocacy organization blames on lack of awareness of federal support, according to Street Sense in Washington D.C.
The VA estimates that 45% of homeless veterans suffer from mental-health issues, while more than 70% suffer from substance abuse. The most common mental illness found in homeless veterans is PTSD, which often leads to other mental illnesses related to trauma, as well as alcohol and drug abuse. Despite this, only half of all VA centers offer treatment and assistance for PTSD and other mental illnesses.
If Portlanders and Oregonians are looking for an organization to support this Veteran's Day, Street Roots recommends the Central Oregon Veterans Outreach. The organization is one example of veterans helping veterans who are experiencing homelessness throughout the state. They're the real deal.