In case you’ve been underway on a submarine missed the news, last month a NYC police officer was photographed in the act of giving a pair of boots to a barefoot homeless man.
Unfortunately, the followup reporting claims that Jeffrey Hillman is barefoot once again. Even more disturbing, it appears that he’s homeless by choice rather than by poverty.
Most unsettling of all: he’s a military veteran.
In 2009 the Veterans Administration announced its commitment to end homelessness among veterans within five years. Last month I learned more about the situation from Joshua John in Community Relations at USC’s School of Social Work. Their school includes a Military Social Work program, and here’s their latest contribution to Guest Post Wednesday. Joshua added:
“As we honor their heroic deeds, we must also remember that veterans often face hardships when they return home. Now is a time to raise awareness of the serious issues servicemembers experience and to learn more about what’s being done to help them.
One of the major challenges facing veterans is homelessness. Of the 636,017 homeless people in the United States, 67,495 are veterans. Veterans are twice as likely to become chronically homeless as other Americans. This is due, in part, to veterans’ heightened risk of unemployment, foreclosure and poverty.”
Reminder: This is a guest post. Please be polite, or the comments moderator will kick in.
Late-breaking update: I received this infographic a couple of weeks ago and decided to slot it into the next available guest post date. While I was doing that, Ryan Guina at The Military Wallet used the same infographic to post a much better summary of the challenge of helping homeless veterans. Now that I’ve helped spotlight the problem, take a look at his solutions. Thanks, Ryan!