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The United States Code contains the official federal definition of homelessness, which is commonly used because it controls federal funding streams. In Title 42, Chapter , Subchapter 1, "homeless" is defined as follows:. For purposes of this chapter, the term "homeless" or "homeless individual or homeless person" includes——.

In general, most organizations use U. Department of Veterans Affairs VA eligibility criteria to determine which veterans can access services. Eligibility for VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Benefits vary according to factors connected with the type and length of military service.

To see details of eligibility criteria for VA compensation and benefits, view the current benefits manual here. In May , the Bureau of Justice Statistics released a special report on incarcerated veterans. How many homeless veterans are there? Why are veterans homeless? What services do veterans need? What seems to work best? What can I do? Determine the need in your community.

Visit with homeless veteran service providers. If you are not already part of an organization, align yourself with a few other people who are interested in attacking this issue. Participate in local homeless coalitions. Chances are, there is one in your community. If not, this could be the time to bring people together around this critical need. Make a donation to your local homeless veteran service provider. Contact your elected officials.

Discuss what is being done in your community for homeless veterans. In Title 42, Chapter , Subchapter 1, "homeless" is defined as follows: There were an estimated , veterans held in state and federal prisons. State prisons held , of these veterans, and federal prisons held 12, Male veterans were half as likely as other men to be held in prison prisoners per , veterans, compared to 1, prisoners per , non-veteran U.

This gap had been increasing since the s.

Veterans in both state and federal prison were almost exclusively male 99 percent. The median age 45 of veterans in state prison was 12 years older than that of non-veterans Veterans were much better educated than other prisoners. Because we were modeling frequencies, the outcome was a ratio of homeless from HMIS data to total general or poverty population from ACS data people for each subpopulation, as defined by the frequency within each subgroup, weighted by that same frequency GEE modeling adjusted for dependence because of clustering within individual CoCs.

Background & Statistics

The phase 2 analysis consisted of main-effects-only multivariate models. Three interaction effects were selected a priori and tested but were later discarded because they were found to be nonsignificant: An estimated , adults received homelessness services in the 7 CoCs in this study; 10, of these adults 8.


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  • Veterans were overrepresented in the homeless population for both sexes Table 2. These rates yielded age- and race-adjusted RRs of 2. RRs for demographic subgroups were generally consistent with the overall RRs. The age- and race-adjusted RRs for homelessness among both men and women were higher for veterans than for nonveterans in both the poverty RR, 2. Rates of homelessness were consistently higher in veteran populations than in nonveteran populations, and among both veterans and nonveterans, black adults, especially in the younger age groups, had higher rates of homelessness.

    Veteran status, older age, and black race were significantly and independently associated with risk of homelessness among both men and women. Similarly, the patterns of results found in the general population were consistent with those found in the poverty population; however, in the latter, veteran status was associated with a greater risk for homelessness. Among the population in poverty, male veterans were more than twice as likely AOR, 2.

    Among the control variables, increased age was significantly associated with homelessness, but its effect differed between sexes. Among men, risk for homelessness generally increased as a function of age up to the to year-old age range, but declined thereafter. This was so among both veterans and nonveterans and in both the general and poverty populations. Men in the to year-old age group appeared to be at the highest risk of homelessness, nearly twice as likely AOR, 1. Risk for homelessness among women declined with age at an increasing rate in both the general and poverty populations, so that older women were at the lowest risk for homelessness, compared with the youngest group.

    Finally, black race was also a significant predictor of homelessness among all subgroups. In the general population, the risk associated with black race increased more than 5-fold for both men and women AOR, 5.

    Prevalence and Risk of Homelessness Among US Veterans

    This risk was lower in the poverty population but remained high; the AOR for men was 2. The findings in this report support those of earlier studies that showed veterans to be overrepresented in the homeless population and reach beyond by showing veteran status to be associated with increased risk for homelessness after controlling for race, sex, and age. The magnitude of this association became greater after controlling for poverty; veteran status was associated with more than a 2-fold increase for men and a 3-fold increase for women in the odds of becoming homeless. This finding is consistent with other research 2 that identified a cohort effect in this age group of veterans.

    This cohort, whose key characteristic was service during the initial years of the All Volunteer Force, instituted in , has continuously been the veteran age group at highest risk for homelessness as these veterans have aged over the last 2 decades. Similarly, members of the general population who are now aged 45 to 54 have continuously been at highest risk for homelessness Veterans make up a discrete subgroup in this general age cohort, in terms of both the increased risk for homelessness associated with their veteran status and their access to health care and homeless services through the VA.

    The susceptibility of homeless people to chronic disease and disability increases as they age, and the veterans among them will increasingly turn to the VA for health care. Given their lack of housing and heightened susceptibility to chronic health problems, homeless veterans will likely contribute disproportionately to the increased demand for long-term care through the VA But beyond that, the changing health and need for housing support services of an aging homeless population are poorly understood.

    As the VA responds to an aging veteran population through increased reliance on community-based care to treat chronic illness 25 , those with the most tenuous ties to the community will be the ones who present the most pressing challenges. Among women, particularly black women, the youngest age groups were at highest risk for homelessness. This finding is consistent with media accounts that women who served in more recent conflicts such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely than older female veterans to be homeless This finding is also consistent with other research indicating that among women in general, the period of highest vulnerability for homelessness is during the time period when they are heading families with young children Because younger cohorts are most at risk, female veterans stand to benefit more from existing homelessness-prevention efforts tied to reentering civilian life, which focus on housing needs, than from efforts that combine housing with health care services.

    Veterans who are living in poverty are more vulnerable to homelessness, an effect that is magnified by black race. Our findings highlight the usefulness of these data for such targeting, but future investigations of risk factors must go beyond the simple focus on race and poverty status.

    The addition of health-related data to the datasets used here could make specific links between health conditions and risk for homelessness. The VA is currently building a registry of veterans using homelessness services that can be linked to VA health care records, which promises such assessments of health-related risks for homelessness and for which this study could be a prototype.

    This difference likely contributed to the divergence in a key finding between this study and the Veteran Supplement to the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report Whereas this study demonstrated that male veterans were overrepresented among the homeless population RR, 1.

    Preventing Chronic Disease | Prevalence and Risk of Homelessness Among US Veterans - CDC

    This disparity is explained in part by the differences in geographic areas, as the Vet-AHAR was a nationally representative estimate. Another limitation of our study is that the veteran status was based on self-report and likely included people who reported veteran status but may have been ineligible for VA services.


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    • Conversely, we may have included people eligible for VA services who did not acknowledge veteran status. The HMIS data are also limited in their universally available data fields, and a more comprehensive range of data fields would go further toward understanding and eliminating homelessness.

      In conclusion, this study offers evidence that supports and expands on prior findings that veterans, particularly older veterans, are vulnerable to homelessness. As more and richer data on veteran homelessness, and homelessness in general, become available through HMIS and other administrative sources, future research should be able to increasingly relate health data to the demographic characteristics included in this study.

      We acknowledge the generous collaboration of the following Continuum of Care organizations: