Science Daily | October 2016
There are nearly 20 million veterans living in the United States today with 14% from the post-911 era (9/2011 or later), 18% from the Gulf War (1990 – 2001), 36% from the Vietnam era, and 17% from earlier conflicts (United States Census Bureau, 2015). In 2009, Secretary Eric Shinseki of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pledged to end homelessness among veterans in the ensuing 5 years, in part, via millions of dollars in federal funding being allocated to create and expand VA services for homeless veterans (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2009). Although this federal commitment is laudable, veterans remain over-represented in the U.S. homeless population with a prevalence estimate of 12.3% vs. 9.7% of non veteran adults in the general population (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2013). On the other hand, the disparity in the rate of homelessness between veterans and non veterans appears to be diminishing over time (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2013; Veterans Healthcare Administration Office of Rural Health, 2013). Still, it is estimated that on any single night, more than 50,000 veterans are homeless (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2013).