A disturbing new study finds that many Americans are likely to associate homelessness with military veterans.
The results of the survey were released by the “Got Your Six” campaign, which is aimed at promoting a positive image of military veterans. Approximately 40 percent of respondents, who were shown the picture of a homeless man, identified him as a military veteran. The others believed that he had a mental health problem or had a criminal background.
Just 10% of homeless persons in America have served in the military in the past. In fact, homeless people are much more likely to have been involved in criminal activity or suffer mental health issues, than have served in the military.
California veterans’ disability benefits lawyers believe that the public perception of homelessness associated with military service personnel could have something to do with the fact that the media has heavily reported on housing issues affecting military veterans in recent years. In New Orleans, the mayor has launched an effort to eliminate homelessness affecting military veterans. The city has partnered with a number of military organizations and other agencies with the goal of locating homeless veterans in the city, and referring them to appropriate health and housing services. In New Orleans alone, there are believed to be as many as 200 homeless veterans.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, approximately 40% of all homeless veterans in the United States are African-American or Hispanic. That is in spite of the fact that these ethnicities only account for approximately 10.0% and 3.2% of the veteran population respectively.
Homeless veterans also tend to be younger than the total veteran population, and are predominantly male. Approximately 8% of homeless veterans are female. The Coalition estimates that approximately 1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness, due to a number of conditions including lack of support networks, poverty, and poor living conditions in overcrowded housing.