Monday, November 12, 2007

Remember the Homeless Veterans

We just celebrated Veteran's day and it is a good time to reflect that some Veteran's are not well off. I'm refering to Homeless Veterans. Homeless veterans are a group often overlooked in this country. I really did not know the scope if the issue with homeless veterans and always assumed that veterans were a cross section in society and were homeless at the same rate as everyone else.

I have read into the issue and found the statistics a little discomforting as a soldier and thought I’d share some with you in the hopes that we all work to never leave a former soldier behind. From the Veteran’s Administration site (

The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nation's homeless veterans are mostly males (4 % are females). The vast majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, or the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America.

23% of homeless population are veterans
33% of male homeless population are veterans
47% Vietnam Era
17% post Vietnam
15% pre Vietnam
67% served three or more years
33% stationed in war zone
25% have used VA Homeless Services
85% completed high school/GED compared to 56% of non-veterans
89% received Honorable Discharge
79% reside in central cities
16% reside in suburban areas
5% reside in rural areas
76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
46% white males compared to 34% non-veterans
46% age 45 or older compared to 20% non-veterans
Service needs:
45% help finding job
37% finding housing

In these statistics one out of every three homeless men has worn a uniform and served this country. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Urban Institute, 1999 provides that roughly 1 in 4 of all homeless people in America are veterans.

As a former soldier these statistics tell me that we have former brothers and sisters that served that need our help. The statistics bear out that we may not be doing enough for some veterans. The VA has some programs to assist veterans, but are they adequate for the surge that will follow the latest war…. I don’t know – at the moment I do a little bit – if all of us veterans did the same I know we would be following the soldier creed – I will never leave a fallen comrade - and perhaps we can make a difference.


Jerry Scovel said...

Dear sirs,

Whle preparing to build a homestead raft for my girlfriend and I to retire on it occurred to me that it would be an ideal way to provide cheap housing for homeless veterans. I have contacted Chad Pregracke of living lands and waters and they have generously agreed to supply us with some recycled materials to help us cut costs. The rafts will be built on plastic or steel barrels and electrical power supplied by undershot water wheels. With a garden on the roof they could even grow some of their own food.

Having been a homeless veteran (1969-1970) I know just how much a clean place to live can mean when looking for work. I also know that with the growing "off the grid" movement that the rafts could provide jobs for the veterans. The rafts would be an item that they could build and sell to homeowners along rivers to enable them to get off the grid. I will be building my raft as a factory that can be used to mass produce rafts and I have enough tools to keep 100 veterans working.

What we need is any surplus plastic or steel barrels, plastic buckets, tools, plywood, 2X4's, 2X6's, stainless steel bolts and screws et cetera that we can get. I also need some semi skilled (carpenters, plumbers and electricians) homeless veterans in the Rock Island Illinois area that are stable enough to see the job through. I believe that once this pilot program is up and running it will be self sustaining and can be exported to other cities.

Jerry Scovel
6710 n. 1400 av.
Osco Illinois 61274
(309) 522-5864

Anonymous said...

My name is SFC POPP TERRENCE I am a veteran of 3 wars and in my time have seen a lot. Upon my return from my last deployment to Iraq in 2004 I was hit with a divorce. I was shocked at how I was treated in court. My military service was used against me. I found my self with out a home and paying an amount of child support that I could barely afford. I then lost my job, I played by the rules and filed my paperwork but my not working made no difference. I found my self with no money, no job and a debt piling up that could leave me a felon. I had to seek shelter and food from a homeless shelter in Detroit. But even there as a single white male I found only an occasional meal. I was lucky and able to get back into the service but there are many I left behind there who have had there hope stolen by the system. Frankly it will be imposable for those men to get out of the street with the laws that are in place. They are doomed, they seek comfort were they can find it and work for cash. And while on the street they still have to deal with PTSD and depression. I tryed a few jobs before I was able to get back in the army. I made 12 an hour which was 480 a week. My support was 1400 a month with daycare and medical. That left me with less then 600 a month to live on. It was a hard lesson that I can be sent half way around the work to bring freedom to another country only to have it stolen from me at home.


Anonymous said...

I am writing about my 55 year old twin brother Mike, who is a Veteran, a father of two grown kids and a man who worked most of his life. He has had a really tough time since loosing his job, then his wife divorced him and now he is living on the street trying to survive. He stands in line every day hoping he will get picked for a job doing manual labor - $8.00/hr. Often he is not selected as he is the minority - a white male, 55 years old. He isn't on the street because he has an addiction or for drug abuse, but because he doesn't have a steady income or enough income to pay for a place to live..I am doing what I can from thousands of miles away, trying to send him money, and encouragement when he calls. My brother was a good dad, who took great care of his kids and family and country. Now he is the one who needs our help. Please pray for him. I can't imagine my brother is sleeping outside every night.... can you? Monica