The risk of homelessness is a possibility for every individual. Although certain factors make it less of a possibility, any individual can fall on hard times. For war veterans, the chances of living a disadvantaged life are at an all-time high.
For millions of individuals, being homeless is only part of the struggle. When addiction is the side effect, treatment options are always available for those who seek it. Being homeless is sometimes just part of the overall struggle of dealing with hard times in life. When too many bad things happen at once, it becomes easier to look for answers to relieve the pain. Those quick answers can turn into a dependence, and over time those quick answers can also take away everything you love. That’s why it’s important to always look at the veteran homeless problem with the full picture in mind.
Defining Temporary Homelessness
There are different stages of homelessness to consider. For veterans, this distinction is very important when considering the risks. Temporary homelessness is when an individual has a home but chooses not to live in it. This often happens when they are dealing with personal struggles unrelated to finances. When speaking solely about veterans, it could point to heavy PTSD symptoms. Homelessness becomes necessary escapism to get away from the pain. Although this doesn’t describe the situation of every veteran, temporary homelessness is just as serious as permanent.
Just like homelessness can become escapism for some, addiction can turn into a habitual routine. When you’re running away from mental and physical problems, it is common to use more than one type of coping mechanism. War veterans are at a greater risk for this since they have seen and done things that no one ever will. The order of addiction or homelessness is irrelevant since the combination of both is a bad sign. Once vices become a package deal with homelessness, it creates another hurdle for setting things right. To put things into perspective, veterans go through years of strict discipline as soldiers. A decision to get away from reality is a choice that is made under serious mental or physical pain.
Modern Day Homelessness
The news paints a very different picture of the homeless population that is often divorced from reality. When describing homelessness, veterans are not mentioned enough, if at all. The VA collaborates with local community services to help out as much as possible. That means there is help available for veterans that are homeless, but very few people are familiar with the programs. In some ways, the VA also does a poor job at marketing the help it provides. War veterans that are tossed back into a modern world don’t get a guide on how to navigate the major changes while being American heroes. This is part of the unfortunate reality of veterans becoming homeless and feeling they have no help to turn to.
Breaking The Cycle
Statistics are trending in the wrong direction when it comes to protecting war veterans. All homelessness is a continuing problem, and veterans are a sizable chunk of that stat. By shining a light on the problem, homelessness can get the attention it deserves.