The Homeless Crisis

Veterans have been struggling to adjust since the beginning of time. It’s no secret that many of our servicemen and women return from service with multiple, serious issues, including financial, marital, work, mental health, and substance abuse issues. Because of these problems, many veterans have found themselves with nowhere to call home, or are on the verge of homelessness, even though many agencies exist to provide benefits and services to assist veterans in need. Helping Heroes is committed to assisting veterans who need the help.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nation’s homeless veterans are mostly males (four percent are females). The vast majority is single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45 percent suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, or the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. 47 per cent of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam Era. More than 67 per cent served our country for at least three years and 33 per cent were stationed in a war zone.

  • 11% of homeless population are veterans
  • 20% of male homeless population are veterans
  • 47% Vietnam Era
  • 17% post-Vietnam
  • 15% pre-Vietnam
  • 67% served three or more years
  • 33% stationed in war zone
  • 25% have used VA Homeless Services
  • 85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
  • 89% received Honorable Discharge
  • 68% reside in central cities
  • 32% reside in suburban/rural areas
  • 70% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
  • 57% white males compared to 38% non-veterans
  • 50% age 51 or older compared to 19% non-veterans

Far too many veterans are homeless in America—between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night—representing between one fourth and one-fifth of all homeless people. Three times that many veterans are struggling with excessive rent burdens and thus at increased risk of homelessness.


To read more facts, visit the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.