Our Veterans Need Your Help!

America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq 

Two thirds of our homeless veterans served our country for at least three years, and one third were stationed in a war zone.

More than half of the 2.6 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans struggle with physical and mental health problems stemming from their service.  Our country loses about 22 veterans each day to suicide. 

Nearly half of the homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. There are 7.2 million Vietnam veterans still living today and nine million families of Vietnam veterans.  

The youngest Vietnam veterans are around 59 years old.  Many suffer from illnesses from exposure to Agent Orange and other chemicals used by the U.S. military to defoliate areas of Vietnam between 1961 and 1975. These chemicals are responsible for many illnesses the veterans and their children suffer from, and generations to come may be affected.


Another 1.4 million veterans are considered at risk of becoming homeless due to poverty, increasing costs of rental housing, lack of support networks and living in overcrowded or substandard housing.

Why are Veterans Homeless?

The causes of homelessness are complex: extreme shortages of affordable housing and limited resources that provides financial access to healthcare (along with physical challenges, a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse), lack of family support, and difficulty cultivating social support networks. 

Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce which places many veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.


In addition, about 1.5 million veterans -- 6.3 percent -- had incomes below the federal poverty line, according to a 2005 congressional analysis of census figures.

Challenges for Women Veterans:

Women veterans are at especially high risk of homelessness, more than twice as much than women non-veterans, and the risk increases considerably if the veteran is poor.  

Homeless women veterans are found in communities across the country. While there isn’t a truly accurate count, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires a count of homeless people in communities across the country known as the Point in Time (PIT) count. The PIT count estimates the number of veterans who were homeless on one night in January 2012 as 62,619, of whom 11% were women veterans.


Experts say PTSD can trigger depression, leading to job loss and a rapid downward spiral toward homelessness. Many newly homeless women also care for children.

Making matters worse, returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have been hammered by a struggling economy and skyrocketing unemployment rates.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2012:
 
Estimated homeless veterans: 131,000 
Estimated homeless women veterans: 13,100 
Estimated post-9/11 veterans: 7,400 
Estimated number of women post-9/11 veterans: 740
12 percent of homeless veterans younger than 34 are women 
Jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans: 11.3 percent  
The jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans is higher than the overall U.S. rate and has nearly doubled in the past year to 11.3 percent.


The top priorities for homeless veterans are secure, safe, clean housing along with a supportive environment free of drugs and alcohol.

Veterans Village will meet these needs by providing:

Secure housing as each will their own small house.
Nutritional meals with the help of their own gardens.


The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide basic physical health care, substance abuse care and aftercare, and mental health counseling.

Clark College will provide personal development and empowerment through education.

Veterans will also receive job assessments, training and placement.


Remember, veterans are the ones that fought for you and your rights. 

It's only right to give back to those that gave so much. 

Thank a veteran today with the help they need now.

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Daddy's Boots
by CJ Heck

Daddy left his boots for me 
and here I have to stay. 
My daddy is a soldier. 
I’m in charge while he’s away.

In Daddy’s boots, I can pretend 
that now I am the man 
who does the things that Daddy does 
as only Daddy can.

I help with little brother, 
I help with folding clothes, 
I help to take the trash out, 
and I hope Daddy knows

 


that every day I wear his boots 
so I’ll feel close to him
and I try to keep Mom happy, 
till he comes home again.

I know that he’s protecting us, 
that’s what soldiers do, 
but his boots are way too big for me 
and my job, being him, is too.

I wonder when he's coming home. 
I miss him ALL the time. 
Mom said Dad is proud of me 
and his boots fit me ... just fine.