Veterans Day: Homeless Veterans Still An Issue in America
by Enrique Gutierrez & Nikolas Molina
Most Americans use Veterans Day as a day of rest and see it as a regular day. Veterans Day is a day of recognition for those who served in the military and risked their lives for millions of Americans.
Although certain Americans have served for their country in the military, the United States fails to give back to their veteran’s service as there is a mass of veterans who are homeless and earn very low income.
American soldier veterans tend to return from deployment at risk. Soldiers see violence, blood, gore, and death while at war. During their journey in warfare, soldiers live in poor conditions. Being in the military, their tasks revolve around survival of the fittest and tests the ability of one’s mind and spirit. Serving in the military leads to many illnesses and disorders. Some soldiers may get used to the conditions they were living in during their deployment.
Once soldiers return home, many are not the same person they were before their tenure. Those who serve in the military tend to return with bad memories from combat. Some veterans return with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – which is a mental disorder that affects those who lived a tragic or terrifying event – giving them mental flashbacks of the scene. Since veterans lived to see war, they may have extremely bad memories regarding what they witnessed and saw before their own eyes.
The United States fails to give US Veterans aid when they return. Most veterans tend to come “home” homeless. The government fails to give necessary services to their veterans as they try to sustain their needs. Some necessities that are not given to veterans are housing, food, healthcare, and counseling. From the failure of this, some veterans become homeless and become apart of the homeless population living on the streets.
Los Angeles, California has one of the country’s highest homeless veteran populations. According to Libby Denkmann of KPCC – a public radio station based in Pasadena – there were 4,800 homeless veterans “living” in Los Angeles in 2017.
On May 31st, 2018 when Denkmann reported her article, there has been an 18 percent drop in homelessness. The number went from 4,800 to 3,910 in just over a year. This decline is a huge relief to many LA officials, especially after the rate last year raised 57 percent.
In 2012, according to calvet.ca.gov, California held 25 percent of the United States homeless veterans population. In 2012, the population of homeless veterans in the United States was around 62,600. With California having 25 percent of the population, the state alone was responsible for 15,650 homeless veterans.
In 2010, there were approximately 74,000 homeless veterans in America. In 2016, the number has dropped to an estimated 40,000 homeless veterans according to the Military Times. This decrease is a huge drop compared to 2010 but, nonetheless, there are still a large amount of homeless veterans out there.
The ultimate goal is to have zero homeless veterans in America, and the progression in the last couple of years is trending towards that number. According to the Military Times, nearly 25,000 veterans are currently living in temporary facilities. That means that 15,000 are left without any shelter at all.
The concept of veterans being homeless leads to a whole different political problem regarding the government. Immigration in the United States is currently focused on more than taking care of veterans who are living in poverty on the streets dealing with many disorders and problems.
US President Donald Trump is focusing more on the immigration issue going on worldwide rather than worrying about his own American citizens (army veterans) who are living on the streets and fighting with their personal selves. The government needs to take action and provide support to all homeless veterans nationwide.