The rising number of homeless war veterans is a shame for the United States, Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday during his Veterans Day visit to the Northport VA hospital. The senator said that the number of homeless veterans doubled over the recent year in New York and Long Island – from 12 to 25 thousand people.
Schumer said that the federal and local governments were not paying enough attention to war veterans, especially to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
War veterans in the United States make up a quarter of all homeless people across the nation. It is a whole army of 200,000 people, which is close to the number of the US military contingent deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this case, the veterans who ruined their health “defending democracy and freedom” have nothing to do but hope for the help of charitable organizations.
"We cannot forget the thousands of our heroes that have been let down by a failed system at the VA," Schumer said. The Senator referred to a study made by the National Alliance to End Homelessness that found one out of every four homeless persons in the USA country was a veteran.
Specialists say that homelessness seems to be a trend in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Service members may find themselves in the street due to various reasons: financial problems, housing, martial, family problems or problems linked with substance abuse or mental health issues.
According to a WCVB report released on Monday, many U.S. soldiers who suffer from the post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were immediately redeployed to the war-torn countries, against the U.S. military policy that soldiers with serious psychiatric problems could only be sent back to the war zone if they were stable for at least three months.
Apart from being tortured by horrible war memories, many veterans were also struggling to find themselves homes, Xinhua reports.
About 44,000 to 64,000 veterans are classified as "chronically homeless" - homeless for long periods or repeatedly, the report said.
The concerns about homeless veterans was echoed by another poll by Gallup.
Among 1,005 veteran respondents, 61 percent believe that veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are at least as likely to become homeless as veterans of previous wars, the poll shows.
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