More Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans wind up homeless
"As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, federal officials are seeing a growing number of young veterans on the street, according to a joint homeless study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Veterans Affairs released Friday.
About 13,000 of the nation's homeless in 2010 were ex-servicemembers between ages 18 and 30, a disproportionately large number of the nation's overall homeless veteran population, the study says.
The Army expects to cut its forces by about 50,000 over the next year or two after pulling troops out of Iraq by December and continuing a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.
The HUD-VA study noted that while young veterans make up only about 5% of the nation's veteran population, they constitute nearly 9% of all former servicemembers who are homeless
"The key thing about this is we're trying to figure out how to prevent homelessness among veterans, especially for individuals coming back from the wars," says Mark Johnston, a HUD official who oversees homeless programs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs blames the rise in young veterans without shelter on a poor economy and an unprecedented pattern of lengthy warfare in which troops are deployed to combat multiple times.
Peter Dougherty, a senior policy adviser on homelessness at the VA, said earlier this year that an estimated 20%-30% of all homeless veterans have been in combat."
Those men and women are the pride of this nation. They deserved better.
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