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Addressing Challenges of Homeless Veterans

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at La Salle chapter.

When you’re walking around Philadelphia and pass a homeless person living out on the streets do you really give it any thought? Well the truth is not much of us do. We go about our day and rush from one place to another not even thinking about how around 5,788 homeless people in the city of Philadelphia. And of those 5,788 without a home, 239 are men and women who have served for this country to keep Americans safe. Homelessness in the United States is a huge issue that needs to be addressed more frequently and thankfully with the help of organizations like ‘Help for Homeless Veterans’ they are standing behind this cause and are shedding light on the real issues that these homeless veterans are facing. When these Vets return from deployment they’re usually faced with burdening trauma and PTSD from their experiences at war. Without proper treatment for the troubles they can be facing, these vets can turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate which can lead to a downward spiral. Most of the time homelessness is a consequence of mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction.

So without the proper treatment to the trauma and PTSD faced at war, these Vets can be more susceptible to homelessness.  

A major concern for the homeless population is the lack of resources to maintain health and wellbeing. Some common chronic disease that are defined broadly as conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing attention or limit activities of daily living or both are; heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. If a homeless person is suffering from anyone of these illnesses they’re at a greater risk because they have a lack of accessibility to healthcare professionals. Also, homeless people are more likely to use emergency rooms and are more likely to have psychiatric admissions. And because homeless people are living out on the streets, they’re more vulnerable to crime and have an elevated risk of injury that they would need medical attention for. 

The team of individuals that work tirelessly to fight homelessness are the homeless outreach programs that try to actively find and get in touch with homeless vets in the City of Philadelphia and provide them with housing and resources to help them get back on their feet. Once in touch with the homeless vets, they go through a step by step process to arrange a stable living situation to help the vets out. Even though we’re not directly involved or working for this outreach program, we can all make an effort to acknowledge the issue of homelessness in the city of Philadelphia.