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1 min read

How We Help Our Veterans

veteranSoldiers risk their lives to preserve our freedom. They witness tragedy. They leave their families for months at a time. They drive their bodies and minds to the brink. They learn to mask their emotions, to show no pain, to live with deprivation. And sometimes it’s all too much.

 

The Hard Truth

  • Veterans are 50% more likely to be homeless than the average American
  • 75,609 veterans were found to be homeless during the national one-day count
  • 57% were in shelters; 43% were on the street
  • Over the course of one year, from October 2008 to September 2009, 136,334 veterans stayed at a homeless shelter or transitional facility at least one night.
  • 23% of the homeless population are veterans
  • 33% of the male homeless population are veterans
  • 67% served three or more years
  • 33% were stationed in a war zone
  • 85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
  • 89% received an honorable discharge
  • 76% experience alcohol, drug or mental health problems

(Statistics from a joint study by the Dept. of Veteran Affairs and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development)

 

What They Need

“The most effective programs for homeless and at-risk veterans are community-based, nonprofit, ‘veterans helping veterans’ groups. Programs that seem to work best feature transitional housing with the camaraderie of living in structured, substance-free environments with fellow veterans who are succeeding at bettering themselves.

“Government money, while important, is currently limited, and available services are often at capacity. It is critical, therefore, that community groups reach out to help provide the support, resources and opportunities most Americans take for granted: housing, employment and health care. Veterans who participate in collaborative programs are afforded more services and have higher chances of becoming tax-paying, productive citizens again” (from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans).

UGM didn’t write the paragraphs above, but UGM does much of what is described as being the most effective way to help veterans: community-based, non-profit, camaraderie, living in structured, substance-free environments. . . The Union Gospel Mission is providing what homeless and at-risk veterans need. You can help. Three meals and a night’s lodging costs $12.94. Donate Here to Help

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