Who Is A Homeless Veteran?

Article by Christine Schanes, J.D., Ph.D. - CHPHP (excerpt)

Used with permission

Who is a homeless veteran? Homeless veterans have one or more of the following characteristics:

• nearly 95% of homeless veterans are male, while 5% are female

• 45% of homeless Veterans have some kind of mental illness

• over 70% of homeless veterans suffer from alcohol or drug abuse

• 47% served in the Vietnam War

• 53% served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, or the military's anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America.

• 67% served in the military for more than three years

• 33% served in a war zone

While it is unfortunate that anyone becomes homeless, veterans are more likely to become homeless than civilians. Why is this? No one knows for sure.

Researchers have found that military service is not a sole factor causing homelessness. Rather, studies suggest that military service can be a factor that can lead to personal experiences that can lead directly to homelessness.

For example, in "A Model of Homelessness Among Male Veterans of the Vietnam War Generation" from The American Journal of Psychiatry, authors, Robert Rosenheck and Alan Fontana pointed out that two military factors, combat exposure and participation in atrocities, contribute to "four post-military variables:

(1) low levels of social support upon returning home,

(2) psychiatric disorders (not including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),

(3) substance abuse disorders, and

(4) being unmarried (including separation and divorce)

Thus, the study determines that it is these "four post-military variables" that can directly lead to homelessness for many veterans.

This is the best article I've read for those looking to understand why and how a veteran becomes homeless in America. I highly recommend reading the whole article here. (Huffington Post)


  1. Geoff,

    Thanks for focusing attention on the plight of homeless veterans.

    Best Wishes for you and "Pour!"

    Christine Schanes

  2. http://soldierinterrupted.blogspot.com/

  3. Taking My Turn,

    Thanks for posting the link to your blog. I am left speechless from your stories and am recommending your blog to many people. Hopefully your words will help wake people up to the reality of a soldier's life as opposed to the stereotypes.

    Best wishes,
    Geoff Ryan