In 2016, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) estimated that on any given night there were over 47,000 homeless veterans sleeping on American streets. There are more than 700 homeless veterans in greater Atlanta on any given night. About one-third of the adult homeless population in the US are veterans.
While only 8% of Americans are veterans, 17% of our homeless population is made up of veterans. The number of homeless female veterans is on the rise:
in 2006, there were 150 homeless female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; in 2011, there were 1,700. That same year, 18% of homeless veterans assisted by the VA were women. Female veterans are two to three times more likely to be homeless than any other group in the US adult population. Women veterans and those with disabilities including post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are more likely to become homeless, and a higher percentage of veterans returning from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have these characteristics. Veterans between the ages of 18 and 30 are twice as likely as adults in the general population to be homeless, and the risk
of homelessness increases significantly among young veterans who are poor.
Despite only accounting for 12.8% and 15.4% of the U.S. population, roughly 56% of all homeless veterans are African-American or Hispanic. Over 50% of homeless veterans have disabilities. Half suffer from mental illness; PTS
(Post Traumatic Stress) and Traumatic Braining Injury (TBI). Two-thirds suffer from substance abuse problems; and many from dual diagnosis (both mental illness and a substance abuse problem). As a result of behavioral issues which may result in facing legal charges, many veterans are engaged in the Veterans Treatment Court where the focus is on treatment and rehabilitation rather than jail time.
Homeless veterans spend an average of nearly six years homeless, compared
to four years reported among non-veterans. Three times as many veterans currently struggling to pay rent or mortgages, maintain utilities, buy food and personal items, face an increased risk of becoming homeless...
The Atlanta Veterans Association provides assistance and resources to homeless veterans to aid, support and help prevent homelessness through
our Homeless Heroes program and exclusively for women veterans through
our initiative, Our Sister's Room.