The plight and panacea of veteran homelessness

National Church Residences opened the Commons at Livingston II January 22. It is the second permanent supportive housing community exclusively for formerly homeless veterans and is connected to the first one – Commons at Livingston I.

The Veterans Administration provides supportive services and case management at the Livingston community. Permanent homeless-veterans-national-memorial-day-concert-2012supportive housing links residents to on-site social, educational, therapeutic, and vocational and health services. At capacity, the Commons at Livingston I and II will house 100 veterans.

Veterans are twice as likely to become homeless than non-veterans, and comprise 12 percent to 16 percent of the homeless population. Among homeless veterans, about 51 percent have at least one disability. Homeless veterans also tend to experience homelessness longer than non-veterans, and spend an average of six years homeless, compared to four years reported among non-veterans.

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A new Commons at Livingston resident recieves the key to his home.

Veterans are 50 percent more likely to become homeless than other Americans because of such factors as poverty, lack of support from family or friends, substance use, or mental health challenges that may develop or worsen as a result of trauma they experience while serving. One-third of homeless veterans were stationed in war zones.Around 400,000 have reported traumatic brain injury symptoms, while at least 200,000 veterans have reported PTSD symptoms. These conditions, which are not always diagnosed, frequently lead to substance abuse and make it more difficult for veterans to find and keep a job – especially in a difficult economy.

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A homeless veteran moves into his new apartment at Commons at Livingston.

The problem of homeless for veterans spans multiple generations, nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam Era, and approximately 500,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were either homeless or in a federal program aimed at keeping them out of homelessness during 2013.

 

homeless-vets-by-era-servedAcross the country, government agencies and corporations are finding ways to help homeless veterans to stabilize their lives through housing programs and health care programs. Through permanent supportive housing that combines housing and health care, National Church Residences is at the forefront of serving those who served our country.

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