Homelessness Dogs Disproportionate Number of Michigan Veterans

Between 2011 and 2012, the Michigan homeless population dropped modestly from 94,033 to 93,619. But during the same year-to-year period, the trend among homeless veterans moved in the opposite direction, increasing from 4,073 to 4,243 individuals. And there is reason to believe that veterans’ greater tendency to fall into social isolation has helped deteriorate figures among veterans.

Whatever the cause of homelessness among veterans, the statistics are clear: while veterans constitute only 7 percent of the general population nationally, they account for 13 percent of the adult homeless population. In short, veterans are twice as likely as the civilian population to become homeless.

Unfortunately, two traits common among veterans — a sense of pride that discourages seeking help and a lack of awareness of job and housing programs — often combine to make former members of the military more likely to struggle onward without a home. And, as is the case for many homeless individuals, job loss, extenuating circumstances and divorce are common causal factors that make the struggle even worse.

Nationwide, 140,000 homeless veterans stayed in a shelter at some point in 2012, according to the Department of Housing and Development. And an extraordinarily high number of them are socially isolated upon arrival.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that 96 percent of veterans arrive at shelters alone and without family. The lack of a social support network can be especially devastating for a demographic group with an already high percentage of individuals with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are programs in Michigan, including the Grand-Rapids-based nonprofit housing agency Community Rebuilders, that help homeless veterans find housing. Legal Help for Veterans stands ready to help veterans secure the benefits that can assist them in their time of need. They have earned our support through their service to our country.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC fights for veterans rights. We fight to make sure you get the benefits you deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more or contact an attorney about your PTSD, TBI, Mental Health, Sexual Assault, Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, TDIU, Medical Malpractice, or Aid and Attendance claim, visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com/ or call 800.693.4800

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