Many came home but their lives were never the same again. Some are in Veteran's Hospitals today recovering from the loss of limbs or from traumatic brain damage. Some came home safe but not sound. I want to remember those men and women who gave their lives. I want to remember the thousands of family members who celebrate this day without their son, husband, brother, daughter, sister, wife, friend.
And I want to remember those who sleep on our streets and inhabit homeless camps in our city.
And I hope I do more than just "remember" their sacrifice. I hope I will be ready to serve them in whatever way possible. One way I can do that is to attend the Serve City Volunteer Meeting at our church next Sunday and see what opportunities there are for me to get involved.
And I'm going to go out on a limb here and just say that the next time we have a homeless veteran visit our church who makes us uncomfortable I hope we will take a moment to realize who he is. Can we spare some of our comfort in an area where we know we are safe to reach out to someone who may have lost his way while he was serving us?
Veteran Specific Highlights:
- 23% of homeless population are veterans
- 33% of male homeless population are veterans
- 47% Vietnam Era
- 17% post Vietnam
- 15% pre Vietnam
- 67% served three or more years
- 33% stationed in war zone
- 25% have used VA Homeless Services
- 85% completed high school/GED compared to 56% of non-veterans
- 89% received Honorable Discharge
- 79% reside in central cities
- 16% reside in suburban areas
- 5% reside in rural areas
- 76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
- 46% white males compared to 34% non-veterans
- 46% age 45 or older compared to 20% non-veterans
* statistics provided by the National Coalition on Homelessness