Approximately one-third of our nation's adult homeless population has served in the United States Armed Forces, while many others who have served and their families are considered to be low-income and live in substandard conditions. Many of these homeless and at risk veterans live with the lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from their service in a combat theater in addition to physical disabilities from service, mental health and substance abuse problems.
According to the United States Veterans Administration (VA), there are more than 107,000 homeless veterans on any given night nationwide with twice that number experiencing some form of homelessness over the course of the year. Specifically, Orange County has approximately 3,500 homeless veterans within its borders. While many homeless veterans are from the Vietnam era, we are seeing a growing number of Desert Storm and recent Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accessing our program, many of whom are families.
Unfortunately, the VA does not have the resources to assist all of our veterans in need. Thus, the VA partners with community-based organizations such as Veterans First to fill their backlog and assist our veterans with the much needed services that our brave men and women have rightfully earned.