HOMELESSNESS & HOUSING
Why does the Disabled Veterans National Foundation support homeless veterans?This may seem like an odd question, but it is one that deserves a fair and honest assessment.
Disability is a very broad term and in our view, there are many types of disabilities. When most people think of a disability, they think of things like an amputated limb, a chronic pain condition, or an orthopedic injury, just to name a few. But that doesn’t cover it all.
It’s the invisible disabilities that are a major issue for veterans. PTSD, traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, and many others are very real conditions that prevent thousands of veterans from living a normal life.
Homeless veterans are disabled veteransWith that said, one of DVNF’s key focus areas is homelessness because there are so many homeless veterans with disabilities. In fact, approximately 53% of homeless veterans have disabilities.
In addition, more than half of the homeless veteran population in the United States has a mental disability.
But then there is something else that some might define as a mental illness: substance abuse.
Many people tend to shy away from classifying a self-inflicted problem as a disability. The problem with that thinking is that more often than not, those with substance abuse problems are extremely disadvantaged or destitute, and drugs or alcohol are a way to deal with that difficult reality.
Other times, substance abuse is a way of self-medicating in order to cope with stress, pain, or anxiety. And in the homeless veteran population, a staggering two-thirds have a substance abuse problem.
Health & ComfortWhen we send shipments of goods to homeless veteran organizations and stand downs throughout the country through our Health & Comfort program, we understand that most of the veterans who will utilize these supplies have some sort of disability.
The VA is typically on site at stand downs to offer medical treatment and consultations, as well as provide casework to help these men and women get back on their feet. But the VA and other stand down hosts actually depend on the support of organizations like DVNF.
Over the past few years, DVNF has helped to clothe thousands of homeless and low-income veterans just through our Health & Comfort program. We have also provided them hygiene supplies that many people probably take for granted. It’s hard to imagine not being able to afford deodorant, toothpaste, or even sunscreen.
Our goal is to make sure that these disadvantaged veterans don’t slip even further through the cracks. When we support groups around the country who share our understanding of the fragile state these veterans are in, we do so in an effort to make certain that they know just how much we appreciate their service to our country.
We are truly thankful for the supporters who help make this possible; you recognize that even the few homeless veterans who don’t have a disability can certainly find themselves crippled by unfortunate circumstances, and it’s our goal not to let that happen.