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Veterans Need Affordable Housing

Approximately 150,000 of our nation’s veterans are homeless, and 25% of those veterans are located in California. In fact, California has the most homeless veterans of any state, according to a joint report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The data also showed that young veterans only make up 5% of the nation’s veteran population, but constitute nearly 9% of all homeless veterans. Veterans are twice as likely to fall into chronic homelessness, as compared to other Americans. Former service members are forced to turn to emergency shelters or transitional housing, or struggle without any shelter at all, due to lack of affordable housing. The study noted that more than 90% of veterans in homeless shelters are men, and more than half of those men are disabled.

 

A number of bills have been introduced to the US House, to provide funding for our veterans and end homelessness within the population within five years. But as more service members return home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries around the world, it is essential that affordable housing funds be set aside specifically for this growing population to prevent veterans from struggling with poverty and homelessness—especially in California, where the numbers are staggeringly higher than in any other state in America. Many homeless veterans are single men with no family support, and most have a disability, either from physical injury, mental illness, or substance abuse problems.

 

Thus, we propose that funds be set aside specifically for veteran housing, to create incentives for developers to finance projects that can cater specifically to veterans. Since most veterans are disabled, it is not enough to merely provide affordable housing. Social Services must also be implemented for these veterans, and establishing veteran communities would be beneficial for former servicemen and women, as well as the state. Funds from affordable housing should then be allocated towards veterans programs, so the issue of veteran homelessness can be eliminated.

 
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