Back from Iraq, vets face homelessness

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


From AP, via the Seattle Times, a now familiar story: hundreds of soldiers back from putting their lives on the line in Iraq have sunk into a life of homelessness.

There are from 200,000 to 300,000 homeless vets in the United States, 10 percent from 1991 Gulf War or the current one, 40 percent from Vietnam. Veterans are overrepresented in the homeless population. (Forty percent of homeless men are veterans, although veterans comprise only 34 percent of the general adult male population.) The AP report notes some are suffering residual stress that makes it tough for them to adjust to civilian life; some have a hard time navigating government-assistance programs; others just can’t afford a place to live.

Contrary to what we might think, though, homelessness is not clearly related to combat experience–at least according to studies cited by the National Coalition for the Homeless. Research in fact shows that homeless
veterans appear less likely to have served in combat than housed veterans; also, veterans at greatest risk of homelessness
are those who served during the late Vietnam and post-Vietnam era; and homeless veterans are more likely to be white, better educated, and previously or currently married than homeless nonveterans.

For the most part, homeless veterans are prey to the same larger trends that afflict the general homeless population: lack of affordable
housing, declining job opportunities, and stagnating wages.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest