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Homeless vets study


Last updated 5/25/2021 at 11:02am | View PDF

A recent Department of Veterans Affairs press release about a study of homelessness among veterans said it found “issues related to financial strain are significant risk factors for becoming homeless.” Those types of financial strain, it said, are debt, unemployment, lower income and financial crisis.

Color me confused. A study was done that concluded those four types of financial woe could lead to homelessness? I think that anyone who’s paying for their first apartment could have come up with those same reasons.

The press release went on say that the study recommended the VA integrate financial education with VA services for housing crisis help. Job retraining, financial support services, debt management and vocational rehab all can help to reduce the risk of future homelessness, the study said.

Most of the press release, however, touted the VA’s National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, tasked with finding solutions to veteran homelessness and assessing programs. It should be noted that the head of the center also happens to be the lead researcher on the quoted study.

Nowhere in the press release did it mention the main focus of the study: the link between mental illness, financial strain and homelessness, and the author’s call for a national longitudinal study into whether those three are tied together.

Days later, another press release popped up, this one a joint communique between the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announcing that they are aligning their efforts, thanks to the $10 billion American Rescue Plan. Ending veteran homelessness will be their first priority, and information and materials will be analyzed during their quarterly meetings.

If you’re in danger of becoming homeless, call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for help. Or call your closest regional VA medical center, but don’t go there unless you’re actually homeless (or at risk of it), they’re careful to warn, due to the problems of COVID. Call in advance.

(c) 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.


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