Homeless Veterans: 1 in 3 men who seek shelter [IUGM survey] FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 09:55:02 -0400

SOURCE International Union of Gospel Missions


WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- One in three homeless men seeking shelter
in America's Rescue Missions are U.S. veterans, according to a nationwide
survey released today by the International Union of Gospel Missions (IUGM).

The IUGM surveyed more than 20,000 men and women in late October at 146 Rescue
Missions around the nation. Of those 32 percent of the men identified
themselves as veterans.

"The evidence is clear that the scars of conflict, especially for those who
served in Vietnam, are not fully healed," said Rev. Stephen E. Burger,
executive director of IUGM, an association of nearly 250 faith-based Rescue
missions throughout the U.S. "Unfortunately, many veterans continue to have
difficulty making the transition to a normal life and often end up living at
our Rescue missions."

"Even with all that has been done to help homeless vets in recent years, "
said Burger, "The numbers have not declined. It means that certain veterans
are more prone to some of the primary issues involved in homelessness --
things like addictions, mental illness, rejection, family break-up and poor
money management." Burger added, "Rescue missions are well-equipped to handle
the special needs of our nation's veterans -- from special programs for
veterans to counseling and rehabilitation services."

Forty-two percent of the veterans surveyed said they served in Vietnam; 8
percent identified themselves as Korean War veterans and 8 percent served in
the Gulf War.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) David Treadwell, who served two combat tours in Vietnam and is
director of Central Union Mission in Washington, DC said, "The sad reality is
that what caused many veterans, particularly Vietnam veterans, to become
homeless was the availability of the same substances that contribute to
civilian homelessness: illegal drugs and alcohol."

Treadwell continued, "The inevitable result was that soldiers learned to use
alcohol as a crutch. For years, I have seen the same result with depressing
repetition: The soldier returns to civilian life, but cannot break the drug or
alcohol habit. Eventually, he drops out of society and winds up at a Rescue
mission -- or worse."

Men accounted for 78 percent of those surveyed, while women accounted for 22

Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, IUGM member missions provide emergency food
and shelter, youth and family services, rehabilitation programs for the
addicted, and assistance to the elderly, poor and at-risk youth. Last year,
IUGM Rescue missions served more than 30 million meals, provided 12 million
nights lodging, distributed more than 24 million pieces of clothing and
graduated more than 15,000 homeless men and women into productive living.

Further information is available on the IUGM Web site at http://www.iugm.org

International Union of Gospel Missions.


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