Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
- About 107,000 veterans (male and female) experience homelessness on any given night
- 214,000 experience homelessness over the course of a yeari
The 2009 AHAR reports that:
- 13% of sheltered homeless individuals were veterans, or about 208,000ii
The FY 2008 Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups (CHALENG) Report estimated that:
- 131,000 veterans are homeless on a given night
- 57% of veterans have experienced chronic homelessnessiii
In the 1996 NSHAPC, almost 25% of homeless clients were veterans.
- About 3% of homeless veterans are femalei
- Among all homeless women in the 1996 NSHAPC, 1% were veterans as compared to 33% veterans among homeless men
- In a study of older homeless adults in Minnesota, 36% had served in the US military; 44% of older homeless men had servediv
Mental Illness, Traumatic Stress, & Substance Use
- About 45% of homeless veterans experience mental illness
- 70% experience alcohol or other drug abuse problems
Many experience bothi
As the number of female and male veterans1 returning from active duty grows, those who experience homelessness may suffer from combat-related trauma, military sexual trauma, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in addition other traumatic stressors.
- Among veterans screened for TBI, over 80% had psychiatric diagnosesv
- Among veterans who screened positive for Military Sexual Trauma, the likelihood of a mental health diagnosis was 2-3 times greatervi
Compared to those who screened negative for TBI, those who screened positive2 also had PTSD three times more often and depression and substance use two times more oftenv Data from 2007 show that one in five (21%) women veterans screened positive for Military Sexual Trauma, as compared to 1% of men veterans
View the HRC’s additional factsheets:
- Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
- Individuals Experiencing Chronic/Long-Term Homelessness
- Individuals Experiencing Short-Term Homelessness
- Families Experiencing Homelessness
- Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness
- Elders/Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness
- Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
- Incarcerated People and Homelessness
1 These data are not focused on homeless veterans but included to share a perspective on the rates of trauma among men and women veterans.
2 Positive screen did not necessarily indicate a confirmed diagnosis.
ii U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (2009). The 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Washington, DC. [2009 AHAR]
iii Kuhn, J.H. & Nakashima, J. (2009). Community homelessness assessment, local education and networking group (CHALENG) for veterans. The fifteenth annual progress report on public law 105-114. Services for homeless veterans assessment and coordination. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved March 25, 2010, from http://www1.va.gov/HOMELESS/chaleng.asp
iv Wilder Research. (2007). Homelessness among older adults in Minnesota. Fact sheet: Minnesota statewide homelessness study, 2006. St. Paul: Author. [Wilder Research 2007]
v Carlson, K.F., Nelson, D., Orazem, R.J., Nugent, S., Cifu, D.X., & Sayer, N.A. (2010). Psychiatric diagnoses among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans screened for deployment-related traumatic brain injury. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23(1):17-24. [Carlson et al 2010]
vi Kimerling, R., Gima, K., Smith, M.W., Street, A., & Frayne, S. (2007). The Veterans Health Administration and military sexual trauma. American Journal of Public Health, 97(12):2160-2166.