National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Homeless Veterans

Watch a CNN feature on a homeless veteran who served in Iraq.

Veterans make up as much as one-third of the nation’s population of homeless people. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, these homeless veterans are mostly male (approximately 4 percent are female) and “the vast majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45 percent live with a mental illness and half have substance abuse problems.” The gap between male and female veterans may be closing—the number of female veterans who are homeless is rising. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 56 percent of the homeless veteran population is African American or Latino, even though these two groups represent 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the population.

Some veterans lose their housing because they have a hard time adjusting to civilian life, which requires different job and coping skills from those that sustained a service member during active duty. In some cases, untreated mental illness or brain injury can make it difficult for someone to maintain a job. The job pool has also shrunk since the onset of the recession, bringing the unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to 14.4 percent, according to the Washington Post.  


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Veteran site

This site provides homelessness prevention information as well as resources for homeless veterans and employment help.

Summary: S. 1547, the Zero Tolerance for Veterans Homelessness Act of 2009

This is a one-page overview of S. 1547, the Zero Tolerance for Homeless Veterans Act of 2009, which was introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) on July 30, 2009.

National Alliance to End Homelessness – Veterans

This national advocacy group has links to resources and veteran-related policy information.

Department of Veterans Affairs Assistance for Homeless Veterans Fact Sheet

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness among veterans.

The Veterans Assistance Program assists veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless with the services that have prevented them from becoming re-established in their communities.

Veterans: One-Third of All Homeless People

For the first time, three federal agencies--VA, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD)--will jointly provide funding for housing, treatment and case management to help end chronic homelessness among veterans.

NAMI’s Missing Persons Networkoffers support resources for people searching for loved ones living with mental illness who are missing persons.