Homeless Veterans A Vulnerable Population Essay

1994 words - 8 pages

Homeless Veterans a Vulnerable Population
Vulnerable populations are often used to characterize groups whose needs are not fully addressed by traditional service providers (Blue-Howells, J., McGuire, J., & Nakashima, J., 2008). These people believe they cannot comfortably or safely access and use the standard resources offered. They include physical or mental disabilities, limited or non-English speaking, geographic or cultural isolation, medical or chemical dependent, homeless, frail/elderly and children. Homeless veterans are examples of a vulnerable population. In this paper, the demographics and the present state of homeless veterans will be explored. Learning that veterans ...view middle of the document...

However, when viewing the current homeless situation, I was surprised to find that veterans make up the majority of the homeless population (National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 2010a). These veterans are unable to provide their own shelter, find and maintain employment, and in general take care of themselves.
Veterans are those who have served in the United States armed forces during the Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and any other military campaign or occupations such as the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The definition, which is perhaps more defining is “A veteran is someone who at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America,’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’” (Author Unknown, n.d.). I have recognized that I had developed a bias in that I did not realize that many of the young, homeless, drug addicted patients which I have cared for have been veterans. I realized that I had considered their addictions and homeless status was not caused by a selfish act of trying to find a euphoric high, but a means of self-medicating to deal with the stress inflicted upon them as a result of their selflessness in serving our country.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 40% of the total homeless populations are veterans. This means on any given day there are approximately 200,000 veterans roaming around this nation homeless (National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 2010a). According to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles (GLA) Healthcare System, there are 21,424 homeless veterans in the GLA service area (Blue-Howells, J., McGuire, J., & Nakashima, J., 2008). Most of the homeless veterans are Caucasian, highly educated, and are currently or have been married. Four percent of homeless veterans are female, and the majority of these females suffer from psychological illnesses and mental disabilities, because of their experiences during war (National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 2010a). The majority of homeless veterans are between 20 and 34 (McMurray-Avila, 2001). Almost half of the homeless veterans served during the Vietnam War. These homeless veterans make up 23% of the total population of the homeless in the nation. Of the total population of homeless veterans, the majority belongs to the underprivileged class of society; and half of homeless veterans are dealing with substance abuse and psychological illnesses. A problematic issues exhibited in homeless veterans is post-war shock and trauma (National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 2010b). I have recognized that I had developed a bias in that I did not realize that many of the young, homeless, drug addicted patients which I have cared for have been veterans. I realized that I had considered their addictions and homeless status was not caused by a selfish act of trying to find a euphoric high, but a means of self-medicating to deal with the...

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