Yesterday, Veterans Day, was a day to honor those who have served or are currently serving in our military. It was also a day to join in service with and for our veterans and the more than 3.5 million individuals who currently serve in our military (active duty, Reserves, and Department of Defense civilian personnel). * With the support of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, Service Nation continued their Mission Serve initiative, hosting more than 20 coast-to-coast Veterans Day volunteer opportunities designed to bring together civilians and the military community.
While a single day of service such as Veterans Day is a great way to raise awareness of the needs of the military community and get people involved, the unique issues faced by veterans can hardly be addressed in one day. According to the U.S. Interagency Council on the Homeless, about 23% of the homeless population are veterans, while veterans make up about 13% of the general population. The issues influencing homelessness are complex, but these issues are compounded in veterans by the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse, and a lack support networks.** Veterans Affairs provides some of the support that homeless veterans lack and nonprofits attempt to make up the rest. One such organization is Arundel House of Hope, a VM partner organization. Arundel House of Hope (AHOH) provides housing and support services to homeless men and women in Anne Arundel County. Many of their clients are veterans. The services AHOH provides help the homeless deal with addiction, lack of housing, mental illness, and more—many of the issues that homeless veterans face. The services AHOH provides are a step in the right direction to eliminate homelessness in general and specifically among those who volunteered to serve our country in the military. Want to know how you can get involved in the fight against homelessness? Check out Arundel House of Hope’s website or Mission Serve.
*According to the 2nd Quadrennial Quality of Life Review, published by the Department of Defense in 2009.
**Excerpted from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans background and statistics information.