Throughout history, every 'civilized' country has abandoned its returning soldiers to their fates; America can't be singled out as being particularly mean toward its veterans, but in this period of world history it is the country which has fought most foreign wars of one sort or another and can claim needy veterans from all of them. The Vietnam war, responsible for about half of the total number of homeless veterans today, is only one of many campaigns reaching from World War II through the drug wars in South America to the more public campaigns in the Middle East.
Most homeless veterans are struggling with mental health issues, or drug or alcohol dependencies. Post traumatic stress is a primary illness. And since 95% of homeless veterans are male, they face a particular problem in that most money made available for re-housing and welfare support is directed at single women or women with families.
This is a primary resource if you wish to try to understand the problems faced not just by the homeless but by veterans in particular. Only around half of them are supported by the Federal government. And interestingly, more than half of them are African-American or Hispanic, though only around 12% of the general population is made up of these ethnic groups. When the last statistics were taken, nine out of ten homeless veterans had received an honorable discharge. Honor should not stop where the street begins.
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