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Essence Wilson
English 113B
Professor Mercado
April 30, 2016
Veterans Living in Poverty

A veteran is someone who served their country in a particular field but after serving a
certain amount of time they retire. Millions of veterans go homeless because they dont have the
support they need. After they retire they have to find a job so that they are able they are able to
survive and avoid being homeless. It's difficult for many veterans to find a stable job that allows
them to earn an amount of money so that they can have a place to stay. They need a lot of
support from others especially those who dont have a place to live at or no job. Its a difficult
task for them to do after they just came from war and are traumatized by what they witnessed
while fighting in the war. Many veterans do not have families who they can call or come home
to, so they have to start from "square one" and create civilian life. Square one is considered going
through the job process all over again. The same veterans who serve our country are fighting
homeless and the country doesnt see how hard it is for them.
Homeless veterans are a major social concern due to the fact that no one has ever spoken
about the amount of veterans who became homeless after retirement. We take time to go feed the
homeless on skid row but do not want to help a homeless veteran that we see on the corner with a
cardboard box asking for money. Many people would say it's easy for a veteran to get a job since
they served our country, but veterans don't have a job because their culture has a huge gap from
the civilian life. The difference between the military life and civilian life is that in the military

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you are in war nobody plays fair you are walking around in full armor to protect yourself 24/7,
your surrounded by dead bodies that are lying on the ground or soldiers who are wounded
severely. While in the military you hear bombs that are going on, gunshots being shot, people
breaking into homes and killing with no questions being asked. Unlike civilian life you dont see
people getting shot left and right many people do get killed but their bodies arent lying on the
ground we have someone who comes and covers the dead bodies.
There are plenty of reasons why veterans become homeless. They have low income,
which can lead to a poor education because they dont have the funds to pay for education, or
they only finished high school. Forty- eight percent graduated from high school; thirty-two
percent had a bachelor degree or higher (as compared to 45% and 25% for the population overall
respectively). Also they don't have a great amount of movable skills particularly they don't
know how to transfer the difference between being in the military and civilian life getting
comfortable being around normal people other than other soldiers. They have physical and
mental health issues and disabilities. Forty- five percent suffer from mental illness which
includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They suffer with substance abuse; Seventy
percent of homeless veterans are affected by substance abuse which prevents them from
working. They haven't adjusted to civil life so they aren't very social.
PTSD has such a negative impact on veterans everyday lives because they experienced
so much during the war. PTSD is caused by experiencing severe trauma or a life-threatening
event. Its normal for the mind and body to be in shock after such an event, but this normal
response becomes PTSD when your nervous system gets stuck. While being a veteran you
arent allowed to get close with anyone and showing no emotion, but its hard for them to go to
war and not become close with other soldiers. I believe this can also play a huge role in PTSD

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because you are witnessing one of your soldiers get shot or murdered right in front of your eyes
and you have to pretend like you dont care at all. Holding back your emotions and going on
about your day can cause you to not be yourself.
If no one steps up and take matters into their own hands then the situation will only get
worst. In 2014 there was about 22.5 veterans in the U.S. during this time about 529,000 and
840,000 veterans became homeless. In Los Angeles there are 2,733 which are eleven percent of
homeless veterans. In 2015 in the City of Los Angeles there are a total of 25,686 that are
homeless. 17,687 are unsheltered and 7,999 are sheltered, eleven percent is homeless vets.
The basic human needs that we have not met yet are making changes to help others out
with problems that they are dealing with. Significance, making the homeless veterans feels
important just like when they were serving our country they were very important. It shouldn't be
just one day that we dedicate just for veterans because they don't serve for just one day. We have
to have love or a connection with them so that they dont have to always think about war.
Offering therapy because they witnessed so many deaths and post people that they were close
with while being out there traveling to different parts of the world.
If nothing continues to happen then the percentage will continue to increase and it will
eventually cause more problems in society. If we don't handle this problem less people will want
to serve for our country because they see how we treat our veterans once they retire. The U.S.
doesn't offer many opportunities for retired veterans who need help getting back on their feet. In
order to help solve this problem have more shelters for those veterans who have absolutely no
place to live. The Obama Administration announced that they will end veterans being homeless
by the end of 2015. Department of Veterans Affairs and Congress have put money into making

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houses that are permanent to support the veterans who are retired and are struggling to find a
way to get back on top of things. According to VA and Congress they have seen "tremendous
progress." Since 2009 the percentage went down thirty-five percent. Even through all the help
many veterans still suffer from mental illness, substance abuse which also includes addiction and
physical disability.
Others value money the most; they feel that money makes the world go round. Those
who have millions and billions of dollars do not care about anything else that doesn't make them
money. If you asked them how they feel about homeless veterans they wouldn't care at all
because they don't live in this type of community. If there are no cameras there to take pictures of
the giving back they don't take time out their day to care about what goes on in other
What I value most in this situation is the fact that there are human beings living on the
street side and most of us are so blindsided by money that nothing else matters. I see this issue
from how others see it because I always think to myself "What if I was put in that predicament?"
I wouldn't know to handle the situation. These homeless veterans are brave because they have the
courage to sleep outside on the ground or in shelters after everything they have been through
already in war. I don't find it fair that they go through this pressure or torment. Most veterans
arent even from the U.S. but they probably were promised a better lifestyle in the U.S. and all
that they were offered was a shelter.
In conclusion, there should be more done about this situation besides building permanent
homes, there should are jobs dedicated only to retired veterans Big businesses should have more
opportunities that help instead of declining because they were involved in the military. More

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changes need to be done. The government should demand that all retired veterans check in with a
doctor every month to receive help so that they can live a better life. It will also help those
homeless veterans because they will then be in a right state of mind.

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Works Cited:

"Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Join the Homeless." SFGate. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

Zoroya, Gregg. "Up to 48,000 Afghan, Iraq Vets at Risk for Homelessness." USA Today. Gannett,
2014. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

"Veteran Homelessness - Veterans Alliance of Southern California Because "Support Our

Troops" Should Be More Than a Bumper Sticker." Veteran Homelessness - Veterans Alliance of
Southern California Because "Support Our Troops" Should Be More Than a Bumper Sticker.
Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

"The 6 Human Needs: Why We Do What We Do - Tony Robbins Blog." Tony Robbins Blog.
2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

"PTSD in Military Veterans: Symptoms, Treatment, and Self-Help." PTSD in Military Veterans:
Symptoms, Treatment, and the Road to Recovery for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. N.p., n.d.
Web. 01 May 2016. <>.