Homeless Veterans are people who have served in the armed forces and are currently homeless or living without access to appropriate and secure accommodation. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has stated that homeless veterans in America are mostly male with about 9% of them. The majorities of these homeless veterans live in urban areas alone and suffer from various problems such as alcohol and/or substance abuse, mental illness, and disorders they got while serving for their country.
A research conducted by the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans indicated that about 11% of the adult homeless populations in America are veterans and roughly 45% of all these homeless vets are Hispanic or African-American despite the fact that they only account for 3.4% and 10.4% respectively. Various organizations that try to promote the awareness of homeless veterans in America have been formed in an effort to help these homeless veterans, the most notable one being Homeless Veterans in Michigan, an organization that has been dedicated to keeping track of all the homeless people in Michigan since 2013 that also tries to ensure that the people in its neighboring states and other countries worldwide are well aware of the problems homeless veterans face and what they can do to help through their website.
While it is important to try and contribute in one way or another to help these homeless veterans, it is just as important to understand the problems they face and why lending them a helping hand would be of great value to them and the community around them. Below are common issues faced by homeless veterans on a day to day basis.
1. Feeling of Hopelessness.
Some homeless veterans find that they feel numb and begin to lose interest in most of the things that they used to enjoy. Others start to feel completely hopeless which may eventually lead to thoughts of suicide. By supporting them, you can help these veterans to get connected to recovery resources such as counseling or the veteran’s crisis line.
2. Anxiety Disorders.
Some homeless veterans tend to avoid going to places that have a lot of people because they are worried about having an anxiety attack. These attacks will normally make them feel very nervous and make their thoughts go wild as their hearts beat very fast. Medication and counseling is a good solution to help combat such a disorder.
3. Noise or Light Irritation.
Noise or light irritation is a common problem seen among homeless veterans who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They will normally experience severe headaches, anger issues, and irritability to noise and light. Giving support to these type of homeless veterans will enable them to get treatment for PTSD and TBI getting them on the road to recovery.
4. Reckless Behavior.
After serving, some homeless will seek out risky situations so as to fill the thrill gap that has been left open from their time in combat. Others will also go on to act completely reckless without thinking about the consequences. Whether they’ve realized it or not, these type of veterans need a change in their lives and with counseling and treatment, they will be able to make changes to their lifestyles and live more fulfilling lives.
5. Alcohol or Drug Problems.
Most homeless veterans end up trying to cope with stress, nightmares, and other problems by turning to drugs or alcohol. It takes a lot of strength for homeless veterans who rely on drug inducing substances to seek out better solutions that are more effective and leave behind such unhealthy ways of coping with life while living healthier and more fulfilling lives.
6. Eating Problems.
A good number of homeless veterans will begin to lose interest in eating and have trouble sleeping after they leave or retire from the military. These types of problems are normally as a result of seeing too many casualties of war that leave behind some mental trauma. Getting the help of a social worker or psychologist will go a long way into improving the sleep and appetite of homeless veterans while also enabling them to overcome stress and anxiety.