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Jerry Shaw

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eteran homelessness not only affects those who experienced the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, but also includes people who served in Vietnam, Korea and even during World War II. Vets serving in the Vietnam and the post-Vietnam era have the greatest risk of becoming homeless, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.


Here are 10 statistics you might not know about veteran homelessness.


1. Declining Homelessness

The number of homeless veterans in America was estimated at 49,933 in January 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. That was a decline by 33 percent, or 24,837 people, from 2010 due to national efforts to deal with the problem.


2. Gender

Veteran homelessness is mostly faced by returning male vets, but females make up about eight percent of homeless vets.


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3. Minorities

About 40 percent of homeless vets are African American or Hispanic, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. African Americans account for just over 10 percent of the veteran population while Hispanics represent less than four percent of vets in the United States.


4. Age

Some 50 percent of homeless vets are between the ages of 18 and 50, whereas less than 30 percent of all veterans are between 18 and 50. More than 40 percent of homeless vets are between ages 31 and 50.


5. Service

About one-third of homeless veterans were stationed in a war zone at some time. Two-thirds of homeless vets served their country for at least three years.


6. Risk

Poverty, lack of support from groups or networks, and substandard housing put about 1.4 million veterans at risk for homelessness.


7. Compensation

More than 40,000 homeless vets receive compensation or pension benefits each month, but that’s not enough to find affordable housing, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Many vets have skills learned through the military that are not applicable for occupations in civilian life.


8. Likelihood

Returning veterans are twice as likely to become chronically homeless as other Americans, according to Veterans Inc. Women veterans are four times as likely to become homeless as male veterans.


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9. Disabilities

More than 50 percent of homeless veterans suffer from disabilities. About two-thirds of them have substance abuse issues.


10. Duration

Veteran homelessness affects vets for nearly six years on average, compared to four years on average among non-veterans, according to Green Doors.