• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • November 5, 2016 in Columnists

    Homeless veterans by the numbers

    Well, another Veterans Day is here, and I think it is important to take note of it because a lot of guys gave up everything they had to serve this nation. I don’t think veterans need a whole bunch of personal attention but it is nice to honor them as a group. One veteran is pretty much like all the rest. They, as a group, have many striking similarities.

    The last thing I read about veterans said there we over 23 million veterans in the United States. Over 2.5 million of them are women. California has more U.S. military veterans than any other state. The median income for veterans in 2009 was approximately $35,000 a year. Some have trouble holding down a job but I won’t get into that.

    I’ll give you a little information about veterans in general. They can be a funny group at times and dead serious at other times. They don’t care much for being asked if they killed anyone, that’s not a nice thing to bring up. Having someone say, “Thank you for your service” gets on their nerves as well. We don’t need to be thanked.

    When you’re in the military, the focus isn’t on you. Servicemen and servicewomen don’t own a lot of material goods or fancy clothes. Staying out of the material goods and image trap is crucial to staying happy as a recently discharged veteran. It can be tough to adjust to. A lot of veterans end up being viewed as “withdrawn” or “reserved,” just because they’re not in the habit of making their private business public and expecting everyone else to find it interesting.

    A soldier’s word is his bond. They say what they mean and do what they say. The concept of a “layoff” doesn’t really exist in the military. They never think they have too much beer. They know there is no such thing as a fair fight or Marquis of Queensbury rules. Rules of engagement are: bring a gun, if possible bring two guns, and bring all your friends that have guns.

    They know that no combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection. They play with bombs, artillery, gunships, tanks, and infantry. To them, everything is a pillow. If they want to talk about your military experience, that’s fine. But keep it relevant to the topic at hand, and keep it brief and simple. They will skim over things that won’t make immediate sense to civilians. If it takes more than a few words to explain an idea in the story, they’re probably better off cutting it.

    There are 39,471 homeless veterans on any given night.

    Demographics of homeless veterans

    • 11% of the homeless adult population are veterans
    • 20% of the male homeless population are veterans
    • 68% reside in principal cities
    • 32% reside in suburban/rural areas
    • 51% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities
    • 50% have serious mental illness
    • 70% have substance abuse problems
    • 57% are white males, compared to 38% of non-veterans
    • 50% are age 51 or older, compared to 19% non-veterans

    State prisons hold over 127,500 veterans, and federal prisons hold 12,500. Veterans reported longer average sentences than non-veterans, regardless of offense type.

    In the United States, 22 veterans kill themselves every day.

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