|United States Homeless veterans include a significant growing number from the current wars in Afghanistan and
Iraq. Many suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and severe sleep deprivation. Often those who have
never suffered from the inability to sleep are unaware of how great of a toll such a problem has, in preventing those who do
from being able to function well enough to hold down a steady job.
Many veterans have lost their civilian jobs due to extended tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere and upon returning
home, find it very difficult to support themselves and their families. Many who are not currently homeless are
in danger of becoming so, especially in growing economic hard times.
In 2006, approximately 196,000 veterans were homeless on any given night, up from an estimated 194,000 in
2005.  Estimates of the total number of homeless veterans exceed 500,000; this figure doesn't include spouses and
children, who may also be homeless or severely impoverished. An additional half million more pay over 50% of their
income to cover their rent or mortgage.
In the United States, 26% of the homeless population are veterans, while they represent only 11% of the adult
population. In Tennessee alone, there were approximately 2800 veterans homeless on any given night in
2006. According to many social service providers, while lack of income, disabilities, physical sickness, mental
health issues and substance abuse all contribute to homelessness, the primary reason veterans are homeless
is the lack of affordable housing and, this problem keeps getting worse, rather than better.
Regardless of religious, political or other persuasion, there is no excuse for the citizens of the United States to
allow even one veteran or one veteran's spouse or child to be homeless. Politicians who refuse to help them
should be voted out of office and candidates who don't place helping them at the top of their agenda should not
be voted for in the first place, regardless of party or position on any other issue.
Americans who sit idly by and make no attempt to address and alleviate problems of poverty in general and the plight of
homeless veterans and children in particular, demonstrate a severe lack of patriotism. And, they display a
severe lack of historical and moral understanding and absence of personal ethics, responsibility, respect and dignity.
Do Americans who ignore the plight of homeless veterans really support the troops? Can we march in parades
waving flags pretending to be patriotic while continuing to ignore our growing homeless population, regardless of
the reasons why they are homeless?
What manner of nation claims to be the greatest nation on earth and to be
a beacon for freedom and democracy to the rest of the world and yet, her citizens continue to look the other way
while growing numbers of homeless veterans and children struggle in plain sight to somehow survive? Why are
there homeless veterans in America? You decide.