For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of homeless veterans has increased in the United States. The VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have made considerable gains in the last several years. But there are still veterans living on the streets and additional resources and solutions are critical.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly 10% being female. The majority are single; live in urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. About 11% of the adult homeless population are veterans.
America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone. Meanwhile, an estimated 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
In 2017, Dixon Center began a formal partnership with Soldier On, supporting this dire need. Soldier On is a private nonprofit organization who has been committed to ending veteran homelessness since 1994. Not only do they provide homeless veterans with transitional housing, they also provide supportive services.
Soldier On reaches more than 25,000 veterans annually through its 125 outreach coordinators. Unfortunately, because of Veterans Administration rules and regulations, Soldier On can only assist 9,000 veterans. Another 16,000 are at risk of becoming homeless even though they are not there yet. This is where Dixon Center and Soldier On come together.
Working together we can ensure every veteran has access to case management, medical and mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and peer support through a network of community-based programs and services. Dixon Center’s partnership with Soldier On allows for expanded services and support.