[Hpn] Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Fri, 14 Mar 2008 06:52:26 -0400


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http://cossacks.org.uk/people/1-in-4-us-homeless-are-veterans-private-stu=
dy-finds/

14 March 2008=20
1 in 4 U.S. Homeless Are Veterans, Private Study Finds
WASHINGTON-Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United =
States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, =
according to a report to be released Thursday.=20

And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly =
veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into =
shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with =
finding a job.=20

The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless veterans =
from the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its =
programs specifically targeting homelessness.=20

The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education nonprofit, =
based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and =
the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out =
of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.=20

In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of =
veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000.=20

Some advocates say the early presence of veterans from Iraq and =
Afghanistan at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took =
roughly a decade for the lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the =
point that they started showing up among the homeless. Advocates worry =
that intense and repeated deployments leave newer veterans particularly =
vulnerable.=20

"We're going to be having a tsunami of them eventually because the =
mental health toll from this war is enormous," said Daniel Tooth, =
director of veterans affairs for Lancaster County, Pa.=20

While services to homeless veterans have improved in the past 20 years, =
advocates say more financial resources still are needed. With the =
spotlight on the plight of Iraq veterans, they hope more will be done to =
prevent homelessness and provide affordable housing to the younger =
veterans while there's a window of opportunity.=20

"When the Vietnam War ended, that was part of the problem. The war was =
over, it was off TV, nobody wanted to hear about it," said John =
Keaveney, a Vietnam veteran and a founder of New Directions in Los =
Angeles, which provides substance abuse help, job training and shelter =
to veterans.=20

"I think they'll be forgotten," Keaveney said of Iraq and Afghanistan =
veterans. "People get tired of it. It's not glitzy that these are young, =
honorable, patriotic Americans. They'll just be veterans, and that =
happens after every war."=20

Keaveney said it's difficult for his group to persuade some homeless =
Iraq veterans to stay for treatment and help because they don't relate =
to the older veterans. Those who stayed have had success - one is now a =
stock broker and another is applying to be a police officer, he said.=20

"They see guys that are their father's age and they don't understand, =
they don't know, that in a couple of years they'll be looking like =
them," he said.=20

After being discharged from the military, Jason Kelley, 23, of Tomahawk, =
Wis., who served in Iraq with the Wisconsin National Guard, took a bus =
to Los Angeles looking for better job prospects and a new life.=20

Kelley said he couldn't find a job because he didn't have an apartment, =
and he couldn't get an apartment because he didn't have a job. He stayed =
in a $300-a-week motel until his money ran out, then moved into a =
shelter run by the group U.S. VETS in Inglewood, Calif. He's since been =
diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.=20

"The only training I have is infantry training and there's not really a =
need for that in the civilian world," Kelley said in a phone interview. =
He has enrolled in college and hopes to move out of the shelter soon.=20



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<DIV class=3Ddate><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://cossacks.org.uk/people/1-in-4-us-homeless-are-veterans-pri=
vate-study-finds/">http://cossacks.org.uk/people/1-in-4-us-homeless-are-v=
eterans-private-study-finds/</A></FONT></DIV>
<DIV class=3Ddate>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Ddate>14 March 2008&nbsp;</DIV>
<H2 class=3Dposttitle><A=20
title=3D"Permanent Link: 1 in 4 U.S. Homeless Are Veterans, Private =
Study Finds"=20
href=3D"http://cossacks.org.uk/people/1-in-4-us-homeless-are-veterans-pri=
vate-study-finds/"=20
rel=3Dbookmark><FONT color=3D#50738f>1 in 4 U.S. Homeless Are Veterans, =
Private=20
Study Finds</FONT></A></H2>
<DIV class=3Dentry>
<P>WASHINGTON=97Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the =
United States,=20
though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, =
according to a=20
report to be released Thursday. </P>
<P>And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly =
veterans.=20
Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters =
and soup=20
kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job. </P>
<P>The Veterans Affairs Department has identified 1,500 homeless =
veterans from=20
the current wars and says 400 of them have participated in its programs=20
specifically targeting homelessness. </P>
<P>The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education =
nonprofit,=20
based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and =
the Census=20
Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 =
on any=20
given night were veterans. </P>
<P>In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of =

veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000. </P>
<P>Some advocates say the early presence of veterans from Iraq and =
Afghanistan=20
at shelters does not bode well for the future. It took roughly a decade =
for the=20
lives of Vietnam veterans to unravel to the point that they started =
showing up=20
among the homeless. Advocates worry that intense and repeated =
deployments leave=20
newer veterans particularly vulnerable. </P>
<P>=93We=92re going to be having a tsunami of them eventually because =
the mental=20
health toll from this war is enormous,=94 said Daniel Tooth, director of =
veterans=20
affairs for Lancaster County, Pa. </P>
<P>While services to homeless veterans have improved in the past 20 =
years,=20
advocates say more financial resources still are needed. With the =
spotlight on=20
the plight of Iraq veterans, they hope more will be done to prevent =
homelessness=20
and provide affordable housing to the younger veterans while there=92s a =
window of=20
opportunity. </P>
<P>=93When the Vietnam War ended, that was part of the problem. The war =
was over,=20
it was off TV, nobody wanted to hear about it,=94 said John Keaveney, a =
Vietnam=20
veteran and a founder of New Directions in Los Angeles, which provides =
substance=20
abuse help, job training and shelter to veterans. </P>
<P>=93I think they=92ll be forgotten,=94 Keaveney said of Iraq and =
Afghanistan=20
veterans. =93People get tired of it. It=92s not glitzy that these are =
young,=20
honorable, patriotic Americans. They=92ll just be veterans, and that =
happens after=20
every war.=94 </P>
<P>Keaveney said it=92s difficult for his group to persuade some =
homeless Iraq=20
veterans to stay for treatment and help because they don=92t relate to =
the older=20
veterans. Those who stayed have had success =97 one is now a stock =
broker and=20
another is applying to be a police officer, he said. </P>
<P>=93They see guys that are their father=92s age and they don=92t =
understand, they=20
don=92t know, that in a couple of years they=92ll be looking like =
them,=94 he said.=20
</P>
<P>After being discharged from the military, Jason Kelley, 23, of =
Tomahawk,=20
Wis., who served in Iraq with the Wisconsin National Guard, took a bus =
to Los=20
Angeles looking for better job prospects and a new life. </P>
<P>Kelley said he couldn=92t find a job because he didn=92t have an =
apartment, and=20
he couldn=92t get an apartment because he didn=92t have a job. He stayed =
in a=20
$300-a-week motel until his money ran out, then moved into a shelter run =
by the=20
group U.S. VETS in Inglewood, Calif. He=92s since been diagnosed with=20
post-traumatic stress disorder, he said. </P>
<P>=93The only training I have is infantry training and there=92s not =
really a need=20
for that in the civilian world,=94 Kelley said in a phone interview. He =
has=20
enrolled in college and hopes to move out of the shelter soon. </P>
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