Homeless Veteran Resource Guide
Veterans account for nearly a quarter of the homeless population in the United States. The large majority of these veterans served in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expects thousands more returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to end up homeless.
Homelessness among veterans is largely understood to be a problem coming from the stresses and effects of combat. Returning veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, depression, physical injuries, or other related conditions often find it hard to rejoin society and as a result end up living on the streets or worse. It is important that veterans know that there are programs out there that can help them get back on their feet, not only by providing a place to sleep and food to eat, but by providing counseling and reintegration help.
This guide will first discuss the national programs available to homeless veterans and then list several state programs. A useful companion guide to this document is "Are You Leaving Money on the Table". Contacting one of these organizations can dramatically change the life of a veteran who is struggling to get by.
Many homeless veterans are held back by unpaid fines, debts, and other legal judgments incurred while homeless. Fines relating to unpaid child support are listed as one the greatest unmet needs of homeless veterans. Likewise, housing laws can play an important role in whether a veteran becomes homeless. Still other veterans commit crimes while homeless and require legal representation and advice.
Statesidelegal.org is a valuable tool for veterans who have legal problems and includes veteran friendly information and contact information for hundreds of support groups and legal assistance services. Go here to access the legal services organizations in each state. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty is another great resource - designed for advocates but offering some very useful information about applicable laws for homeless veterans. The National Resource Directory also provides a long list of other legal service organizations available to veterans.