At Least 20% of Homeless in U.S. are Veterans

Sunday, December 02, 2012

About one in five Americans currently homeless served in the military, with the vast majority suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


A 2012 study from Yale University concluded that 63% of male, and 77% of female homeless veterans suffer from PTSD and/or a mood disorder. Of these, more than 90% of men and 75% of women developed their PTSD as a result of exposure to combat.


By some estimates, homeless veterans represent between 20% and 25% of the overall homeless population.


The National Alliance to End Homelessness has said the overall number of homeless vets has declined this year. However, the number of female veterans living on the streets has more than doubled.


The Yale study characterized the typical homeless female veteran as “Black, in their 30s, unmarried, had been homeless less than twice in the last 3 years and never been incarcerated.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Homeless Veterans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan: Comparisons with Previous Cohorts (Journalist’s Resource)

Homeless Veterans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan: Gender Differences, Combat Exposure, and Comparisons with Previous Cohorts of Homeless Veterans (by Jack Tsai, Robert H. Pietrzak and Robert A. Rosenheck, Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research)

Veterans and Homelessness (by Libby Perl, Congressional Research Service) (pdf)

For Homeless Veterans (Department of Veteran Affairs)


Nathanael 10 years ago
I'm not surprised. As a veteran myself, and living with my wife (who's also a veteran) we've battled for the last two years since my discharge to keep a roof over our and our children's heads. We couch surfed for a year as a family, and we lived in a hotel for a month on the good will of my father. Things are tight for us now, and we may soon lose our current living situation due to neither of us being able to hold a job for very long since getting out of the military. When we went to veteran support agencies for help finding housing during our transition period, many wouldn't or couldn't help and deferred us to shelters. Those who could help had waiting lists up to 6 months long! I don't know if they didn't have priority assistance for veterans with children, or if that was the priority list for veterans with children, but the system is broken, and isn't doing anyone any favors. If we had been forced into our final position, I would have had to leave my wife to take care of both of our children by herself, since I would not have been allowed to stay with her at any shelter that would take in our children. !!!!! Veterans are homeless because they don't have options, and those who desire to help aren't empowered to do so. That 25% represents a huge portion of veterans when you realize that service members only make up 1% of the general population!

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