In the current wars, there have been far more men and women returning injured than not returning at all. They carry the physical and psychological wounds, as well as the memory of their fallen comrades.
Homelessness is a problem for our returning soldiers.
- 11% of the homeless adult population are veterans
- 20% of the male homeless population are veterans
- 68% reside in principal cities
- 32% reside in suburban/rural areas
- 51% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities
- 50% have serious mental illness
- 70% have substance abuse problems
- 57% are white males, compared to 38% of non-veterans
- 50% are age 51 or older, compared to 19% non-veterans
As with re-entry after every war, our veterans come home to the current economic conditions. These — as civilians know — are no picnic: productivity is up because Americans are working harder for the same pay. Housing costs have inflated rapidly over the past 15 years since the Afghani war began. The high rates of injury put many veterans at even greater risk of falling into poverty. Injured or not, many veterans are in need of basic help. There are organizations that help our veterans throughout Massachusetts.
I don’t have any answers, but, today I remember those who fought and didn’t come back as well as have compassion for those who fought, came back, and are struggling. Here is a link for services from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and plug a good service organization.
Take some time during this three-day weekend to remember those who serve in our military. It’s Memorial Day for those who did not return.