United States veterans comprise 10-20% of Commonwealth Land Trust’s supportive housing population. Like other supportive housing residents, they may be struggling with physical disabilities, mental health challenges, addictions, HIV/AIDS, and histories of chronic homelessness.
Veteran residents benefit from CLT’s holistic on-site case management approach and receive mental health, trauma, and addictions counseling as well as supportive referrals, medication adherence training, and other vital services. Case managers are trained in cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, which are particularly beneficial for clients battling posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that affects over 20% of veterans.[i]
Although veterans are more likely to experience homelessness than the general population, their challenges and treatment outcomes are no more severe than the non-veteran homeless. Indeed, research shows that supportive housing programs are beneficial for both vets and non-vets.[ii] The success of CLT’s veteran clients, over 95% of whom remain in permanent housing, is a testament to the effectiveness of housing paired with on-site supportive services.
COMMONWEALTH LAND TRUST SUCCESS STORIES: VETERANS
Please click on the link below to learn about Russell, a formerly homeless United States veteran who is thriving in permanent housing.
VETERAN HOMELESSNESS STATISTICS
In November 2009, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pledged to end homelessness by 2014.[iii] This undertaking is both challenging and important as 1/3 of homeless adult men are veterans and many more are at risk of becoming homeless. In 2011, 1.4 million veterans were living below the poverty line and 800,000 were jobless. The stagnant economy has had a deleterious effect on veterans’ employment. Historically, many veterans have found work in manufacturing and construction, industries that were devastated by the recent economic recession. Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars face particularly bleak job prospects with a 37.9% unemployment rate among veterans ages 18-24.[iv]
VETERANS OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
Although over two million veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan, this number accounts for only 1% of Americans. Those returning from overseas often feel alienated and struggle to return to civilian life. In addition to high rates of unemployment and poverty, many veterans experience physical and mental health challenges stemming from their service.[v] Due to the potent nature of modern weaponry, 22% of soldiers return home with traumatic brain injuries and 21% develop addictions following their service.[vi] Studies have shown a correlation between the increase in traumatic brain injuries and the growing number of veterans battling PTSD.[vii] Securing housing and accessing appropriate supportive services is as important for today’s vets as it is for older generations.
[i] Hillary S. Burke and Charles E. Degeneffe, “A New Disability for Rehabilitation Counselors: Iraq War Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Journal of Rehabilitation 75-3 (2009): 8.
[ii] Jack Tsai, Alvin S. Mares, and Robert A. Sosenheck, “Do Homeless Veterans Have the Same Needs and Outcomes as Non-Veterans?,” Military Medicine 177 (2012): 27.
[iii] Alison B. Hamilton, Ines Poza, and Donna L. Washington, “‘Homelessness and Trauma Go Hand-in-Hand”: Pathways to Homelessness among Women Veterans,” Women’s Health Issues 21-4S (2011) 203.
[iv] “A Hard Homecoming,” The Economist, December 17, 2011, 39-40.