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The Disgrace Of Veteran Homelessness Essay

1903 words - 8 pages

The military has been instrumental in the protection and development of U.S interests around the world. From the Revolutionary War, which established the United States as a nation, through the World Wars, which set up the U.S as one of the world super powers, to its current war on terror, the military has helped and protected U.S. interests around the world. During all these wars American soldiers have proudly served their country. Because of these wars America is famous throughout the world for military power and its protection of freedom in the world. Today the U.S is an international symbol of wealth and power; it has the largest Gross Domestic Product in the world as well as the strongest military. Yet even America falls prey to a social ill that plagues every society, that of the homelessness of its citizens. Shamefully of those homeless 23% are reported to be veterans, although the actual numbers may be much larger (Coalition for the Homeless). These soldiers gave of themselves for their country and now annually more than 500,000 of them experience homelessness (National Coalition for the Homeless). It is a disgraceful fact that in the greatest country in the world, the men and women who once represented America in its many wars for freedom, and built up America’s international might, are now unfortunately sleeping under bridges and looking for a place to sleep at night. One would only have to visit a homeless center in one of America’s “Great” cities, and veterans from almost every major American conflict can be found. This is not a new problem in America. Homelessness among American veterans has been around since colonial times. The ravages of war, put together with military life, results in the creation of key factors, that lead to homelessness among veterans, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brian injuries (TBI), and an inability to adjust to civilian life. These factors create a population of veterans who are extremely susceptible to homelessness.
One of the key factors that contribute to homelessness among veterans is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD affects a large number of military veterans from every war, though the rates differ depending on which war they served in, PTSD affected 30% of Vietnam veterans, 11% of Afghanistan veterans, 20% of Iraq veterans, and 10% of veterans who served in the Gulf War (How Common is PTSD). Half of veterans with PTSD do not receive the treatment they require and 20% - 50% of those who do receive treatment do not finish it (Robson). The lack of treatment is important considering that 45% of homeless veterans have some kind of mental illness (Paquette). The homecoming of a veteran has been related to that veteran’s degree of PTSD. Veterans with a negative reception upon their arrival tend to have harsher PTSD (Tull). It is no wonder then that, those who had the hardest time re-entering society, Vietnam veterans, among whom 30% have had PTSD, make up 47% of homeless...

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