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11th October
2011
written by Catherine An

In the veterans supplement to the AHAR last week, we learned that the point-in-time count of veterans experiencing homelessness rose one percent to 76,329 from 2009 to 2010. In the same time period, year-round counts of homeless veterans seeking services decreased by 3 percent, to 144,842.
There were a number of other observations and statistics presented in the report, which covered

  • estimates of homelessness among veterans
  • demographic characteristics of sheltered veterans
  • risk of homelessness among veterans, examining gender, race/ethnicity, age, and disability status
  • location of homeless veterans
  • veterans’ access and use of the shelter system
  • permanent supportive housing use by veterans

Among the many findings presented in the report, I was struck by two in particular, both pertaining to the risk of homelessness among veterans.

First is the widely-reported idea that female veterans are at higher risk of homelessness than their male counterparts. The report suggests that the wide reporting is based on fact, suggesting that female veterans are twice as likely as their non-veteran counterparts to experience homelessness. Poor female veterans are three times as likely to experience homelessness as their non-veteran counterparts living in poverty. In fact, it can be said that military service heightens the American woman’s risk of experiencing homelessness.

I was also taken by the racial breakdown of risk. As the Alliance has observed before, African Americans are strongly overrepresented in the homeless veterans population. African Americans make up approximately 35 percent of the homeless veteran population but only 10 percent of the veteran population (and only 13 percent of the American population). Likewise, Latino/Hispanic veterans constitute 12 percent of the homeless veterans population but only 8 percent of the veteran population.

But I also noticed that Asians, while being underrepresented in the homeless veteran population (only 0.5 percent of the homeless veteran population and just over 1 percent of the total veteran population) were at particularly high risk of experiencing homelessness. At higher risk, according to the chart presented, than either their African American and Latino/Hispanic counterparts.

For more information about this report on veterans or to access it online, please click here.

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