by Josh Creighton
Some people believe that those on the streets became homeless because they’re lazy and don’t want to work, or that they’re drug addicts, prostitutes, or involved in some kind of illegal activity, refusing to give up a lifestyle that keeps them in poverty. This is, quite frankly, a stereotype and misconception about the majority of the homeless population, which consists of a wide range of people from all walks of life, including our cherished veterans.
Most homeless are down on their luck. They are individuals who have suffered traumas, tragedies and misfortunes that they couldn’t, for whatever reason, bounce back from.
People can become homeless due to a variety of factors, including:
⦁ Physical or Mental Illness
⦁ A natural disaster that caused them to go into bankruptcy and lose everything
⦁ Losing a family member or loved one who cared for them
Any number of terrible situations can cause homelessness. It happens in America more than you might think.
Americans Are Only One Paycheck Away From Being Homeless
Studies have shown that Americans are only one paycheck away from being on the streets. One report found that nearly half of Americans (44%) are one emergency from total financial disaster. During the recent economic recession of ’07-09, millions of homes were foreclosed on because of toxic mortgages and negligent lending practices by major banks and creditors.
Everyone that does not have the proper financial security could become homeless. Ask yourself, is there a situation that could result in you being out on the streets?
Veterans Are At a Higher-Risk for Homeless
All of this is especially true of our veterans. After veterans leave the service and come back home to civilian life, re-integrating into society proves difficult. The strict, 24/7 structure of military life is replaced by a now unfamiliar and sometimes unstable situation.
The veteran has to figure out how to survive in the world without the support of the military establishment, and family members often have no idea how to adequately provide the support a veteran needs, especially when they have a severe mental illness like PTSD.
Jobs can be hard to find in general, but for our veterans it can be even more difficult.
Despite job applications asking if the applicant has had prior military service, veterans are statistically more likely to be passed over for a job and find that their military service makes no difference to employers in the long run.
All of these factors combined can cause veteran homelessness. Drugs and alcohol may be one factor, but it’s typically not the single driving force that some people make it out to be. Most veterans only get addicted to drugs or alcohol after the fact, due to illicit substances being so prevalent on the streets.
Drug use seems like a good option when you have no hope and see no way out.
Consider Taking Action and Helping Our Homeless Veterans Today
This is where shelters and treatment centers can be of immense help to our homeless veteran population. However, they can’t single-handedly stop the homeless epidemic affecting veterans.
As previously mentioned, anyone can become homeless at any time. A natural disaster like a tornado or flood could leave you homeless in a heartbeat. An electrical fire could burn your house to the ground, causing all your possessions to go up in flames. An illness or a death in the family could cost thousands of dollars in medical expenses that you don’t have, and a divorce or bankruptcy for whatever reason could wipe out your savings.
All of these things and more can lead to homelessness. Homeless people are not all criminals, deadbeats, or drug addicts. They are people just like you who have had to endure the worst circumstances imaginable.
Please consider doing whatever you can to help. A donation, your time, or even your advocacy such as spreading awareness about our programs on social media will help the cause of ending homelessness (and veteran homelessness).
The goal is to get our homeless veterans off the streets, off drugs and alcohol, and back into their community as contributing members of society.
If you would like to help, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 502-964-7147. Thank you!
ran has no hope and sees no way out. This is where shelters and treatment centers can help, but they can’t single-handedly stop the homeless epidemic affecting our veterans.
Anyone can become homeless at any time. A natural disaster like a tornado or flood could leave you homeless in a heartbeat. An electrical fire could burn your house to the ground, causing all your possessions to go up in flames. An illness or a death in the family could cost thousands of dollars that you don’t have. All of these things and more can lead to homelessness. Homeless people are not all criminals, deadbeats, or drug addicts. They are people just like you who have had to endure the worst circumstances imaginable.