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Post: Veteran homelessness is on the rise despite government efforts—here’s how it happens

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Veteran homelessness is on the rise despite government efforts—here's how it happens
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Photo illustration by Michael Flocker // Stacker // Canva Veteran homelessness is on the rise despite government efforts—here’s how it happens

A man is seated against a backdrop of a military dog tag and an American flag.

Homelessness reached record levels in 2023, as rents and home prices continued to rise in most of the U.S. One group was particularly impacted: people who have served in the U.S. military.

“This time last year, we knew the nation was facing a deadly public health crisis,” Jeff Olivet, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, said in a statement about the 2023 numbers. He said the latest homelessness estimates from the Department of Housing and Urban Development “confirms the depth of the crisis.”

At least 35,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness in 2023, according to HUD. While that’s about half of what it was in 2009—when the organization began collecting data—things have plateaued in recent years despite active efforts to get that number to zero.

Although they make up just 6.6% of the total homeless population, veterans are more likely to be at risk of homelessness than Americans overall. Of every 10,000 Americans, 20 were experiencing homelessness. Of veterans living in the United States, that number jumps to 22, HUD data shows.

Complicated by bureaucracy, family dynamics, and prejudice, the path from serving in the military to homelessness is a long one. According to a 2022 study by Yale School of Medicine researchers, homelessness typically occurs within four years of leaving the military, as veterans must contend with the harsh reality of finding a job in a world where employers struggle to see how skills on the battlefield transfer to a corporate environment.

These days, veterans also deal with historically high rent and home prices, which causes many to rely on family generosity while figuring out a game plan.

Stacker examined academic studies, analyzed government data, and spoke with members of the Biden administration, experts, and former members of the armed forces to see the struggles members of the military face when leaving the armed forces. Stacker Veterans struggle to find a path forward An infographic […]

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