The important conversation on caring for our veterans has all too often taken a back seat this election season. Despite the nascent economic recovery, many returning soldiers continue to struggle to find good jobs. Homelessness also continues to be an agonizing reality for many vets.
The situation was noticeably dire in 2011, when the statistics showed the unemployment rate for young male veterans (18 to 24) was a whopping 29.1 percent (nearly double the national average for similarly aged males.) Though this number may be easing in tandem with the lowering national unemployment rate, tackling the original spike requires an ongoing effort. As for homeless female vets, their numbers have also increased (from 4 to 8 percent ) according to the GAO.
There are projects and advocates out there who seek to curtail the problem. The U.S. Dept of Veterans, for example, has a launched a contest calling on developers to create an app for volunteers to locate opportunities to connect vets with shelter, food and medical resources. And just this week, chronically homeless vets have moved forward with a lawsuit fronted by the ACLU.
Last year we showed you the “enduring sacrifice“ and economic difficulties facing today’s vets. This week we return to the issues of joblessness and homelessness, and look at how some of these individuals have fared in the time since we last talked to them.
Tell us, do you think we do enough for veterans of our most current wars and our historic wars? What more could we do to help veterans once they come home?