Some sobering statistics on United States veterans:
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night.
- According to the census, the number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating in 2014 was 3.8 million.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts: Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans. As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans. 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan.
- In 2014, the latest year available, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives, accounting for 18 percent of all suicides in America. Veterans make up less than 9 percent of the U.S. population.
- According to VA study, risk of suicide for veterans is 21 percent higher compared to civilian adults.
Want to help? Here are some suggestions:
Determine the need in your community. Visit with homeless veteran service providers. Contact your mayor’s office for a list of providers, or search the NCHV database.
Involve others. If you are not already part of an organization, align yourself with a few other people who are interested in helping.
Participate in local homeless coalitions.
Make a donation to your local homeless veteran service provider.
Contact your elected officials. Discuss what is being done in your community for homeless veterans.
Be an active part of your veteran’s support systems and check in with them often. If they show any warning signs for suicide, be direct. Tell them it’s OK to talk about suicidal feelings. Practice active listening techniques and let them talk without judgment.
A simple act of kindness to the veteran or service member in your life can help that person feel less alone.
You can also donate here: Homeless Veterans
Here are more suggestions on how to help veterans. 9 Ways To Help Veterans