According to a 2017 report by the Veteran Car Donations, about 1.5 million veterans are at risk of homelessness. About ten percent of the adult homeless population in the US are veterans, and more than half of these homeless veterans (51 percent) are aged 51 or older.
A cohort study conducted by the American Journal of Public Health assessed the risk factors of homelessness among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who served from 2005 to 2006. The study found that there was a five-year homeless incidence at 3.5 percent after the soldiers’ service. Predictors of homelessness, the study reported, are:
- Military pay grade
- Substance abuse
- Diagnosis of psychotic disorder
Because homelessness is a major health issue that needs to be addressed, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has various housing options and loan programs that assist returning veterans in finding homes or even just temporary shelter.
State-based Veteran Home Loan Programs
Although the VA is mainly responsible for looking after veterans, some states also provide services to these heroes. If the veteran lives in Arizona, for example, they can apply for the Home in 5 Program. Depending on the lending institution, the grant may require zero down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance, like the VA loan program of amcarizona.com.
Connecticut has the Military Mortgage Option, in which qualified veterans are eligible for below-market mortgage interest rate and down payment assistance. Veterans should be first-time homebuyers.
Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program
The VA offers this program annually to fund community agencies that serve homeless veterans by giving them housing options and other services. The program aims to assist homeless veterans achieve residential stability, improve their skills, and increase their income.
The VA will cover 65 percent of building acquisition, renovation, or construction that will serve as service centers for homeless veterans. The community agencies may not, however, use these funds for operational costs, such as salary.
Enhanced-Use Lease Program
Through this program, the VA leases out underused private real estate and develops it into service centers for homeless and at-risk veterans, and their families.
Not only does this program provide housing, but it also provides homeless veterans with job training opportunities, community gardens, financial management assistance, and support groups.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families
The program gives grants to not-for-profit organizations that assist low-income veterans and their families. These organizations should be providing services to veterans who are transitioning to permanent housing and giving them the following:
- Health care services
- Daily living services
- Legal services
- Child care services
- Housing counseling services
The program also temporarily provides financial assistance for a property owner who is currently accommodating veterans at-risk of homelessness. The funding is based on the needs of the veteran and their family, who also receive intensive case management.
For veterans, especially those who are suffering from clinical depression or PTSD, it may be hard to be economically and mentally stable. These circumstances may drive them these veterans to the streets. The VA is trying to mitigate this risk by providing housing programs. Although images of war are not easy to erase from the minds of veterans, having roofs over their heads after their service may give them a sense of home.