Military veterans are much more likely to be homeless than other Americans, according to the government’s first in-depth study of homelessness among former servicemembers.
About 16% of homeless adults in a one-night survey in January 2009 were veterans, though vets make up only 10% of the adult population, USA Today reported last week.
More than 75,000 veterans were living on the streets or in a temporary shelter that night. In that year, 136,334 veterans spent at least one night in a homeless shelter — a count that did not include homeless veterans living on the streets.
The urgency of the problem is growing as more people return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The study found 11,300 younger veterans, 18 to 30, were in shelters at some point during 2009. Virtually all served in Iraq or Afghanistan, said Mark Johnston, deputy assistant secretary for special needs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“It’s an absolute shame,” he said.
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