Understanding the Issues

Homeless Veterans: Understanding the Issue

Who are homeless Veterans?

Almost one-quarter of our nation’s entire homeless population are Veterans. The VA says that 95% of Homeless Veterans are male, 46% are age 45 or older, and almost half served during the Vietnam Era. About 45% of all Homeless Veterans suffer from mental illness.

How many Veterans are homeless?

HUD estimates that more than 62,000 Veterans are homeless on any given night, and almost twice that number experience homelessness over the course of a year (2012). It is estimated that one out of three homeless adults in our nation has put on a uniform to serve our country.

Why are Veterans homeless?

Veterans are homeless due to a complex set of factors such as mental and physical disabilities, severe shortages in affordable housing and supportive services, and high unemployment. A large number of displaced and at-risk Veterans live with the lingering effects of trauma, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

Who are Homeless Veterans in Columbia?

About 1 in 5 homeless people in Columbia are Veterans. The average age of Homeless Veterans in Columbia is about 45. At least 85% of Homeless Veterans in Columbia are diagnosed with a mental illness that contributes to chronic social and occupational limitations.

What are the biggest challenges for Homeless Veterans in Columbia?

Aside from adequate shelter, some of the biggest challenges Homeless Veterans in Columbia face:

  • Disability – Most Veterans staying at Welcome Home are applying for VA and/or Social Security disability compensation and have very limited financial resources to meet their basic needs until a determination can be made. This process is often lengthy and can take as long as two years. Often Veterans become homeless because they are unable to work and they have no income until a decision on compensation has been made.
  • Employment – Many employers are afraid to hire homeless people, and many are unable to accommodate a modified work load or schedule that someone with a mental or physical disability may require. The current economic situation makes the challenge of finding work even more difficult.
  • Transportation – Sometimes the bus isn’t an option for Veterans who work early or late hours.
  • Clothing – While there are a number of facilities that sell used clothing, often our Veterans have so little money that they simply cannot afford to buy any clothing.

Does Welcome Home, Inc. help Veterans who are not homeless?

Welcome Home, Inc. is here to serve all Veterans. We are here to help, homeless or not!

What can I do to help?

Welcome Home, Inc. is a non-profit organization run by Veterans for Veterans. Our board of directors are all Veterans. Our most critical need is cash contributions that allow us to provide direct assistance to homeless Veterans. If you or your organization are interested in supporting our homeless heroes, please consider a donation! All donations are tax-deductible.

There are also many other ways that individuals and organizations can help; please contact our office for more information.

Often our homeless heroes may be separated from their families, so if you or your organization are interested in adopting a Veteran for the holidays, please contact our office.