Sarah M. California

Homeless Veterans

Our country must solve the issue regarding the many veterans who have defended our country that are left without the homes and support they deserve.

Dear Future President,

I would like to formally congratulate you and express that I am very grateful to be able to write this letter to you. I am writing in regards to a major issue that our country is facing. I would like to bring to your attention the issue regarding homeless veterans. Veteran homelessness is a crucial issue that our country is failing to deal with properly and I hope that the issue can be resolved in the following years. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that “39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night”. According to the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, “40% were in unsheltered locations”. Some factors that contribute to this issue include a drastic shortage of affordable housing and health care. This is an especially challenging for veterans because they are disadvantaged when competing for employment due to the fact that military occupation is difficult to apply into an urban working position or employment positions. Mental illness and substance abuse are crucial problems that our veterans struggle with yet they do not receive enough support or consideration. There are very few services designated towards homeless veterans that aim to end this unfortunate issue and the ones that exist are fairly successful. Homeless veterans need job assessment and employment training along with all aspects of health care such substance abuse care, mental and physical health care, and personal help in order to become stable and productive citizens.

These men who have fought for and defended our country deserve all the benefits and service they can utilize, however, many of them are not accessible enough or considerably provided. Personally, I have family members who are in the military and are veterans themselves, so this issue impacts me because I am familiar with the mental illness they can unfortunately struggle with. Within the community I live in, Highland Park, Los Angeles, there is an unfortunately small number of homeless shelters and according to the Highland Park Patch, “The lack of shelters in Northeast Los Angeles makes getting the local population off the street particularly difficult”. Within the entire Los Angeles County, there is a significantly large amount of homeless veterans. These men and women are often suffering from Posttraumatic stress disorder along with drug and alcohol abuse therefore pose a threat to themselves and the community since they are unable to access the help they need and deserve. According to PBS News Hour, “There are about 45,000 homeless people in LA County, about 40,000 of whom are veterans“. The city of Los Angeles infamously struggles with seizing homelessness and this has caused hardships on communities that have an overwhelming amount of homeless veterans such as Skid Row. About 20% of the 8,000 to 11,000 people in this population are veterans. The instability, mental illness, and substance abuse within the homeless veterans population poses a threat to our city and predominantly the homeless veterans themselves. Their lack of resources resorts in homeless veterans depending on living in insufficient environments in crowded urban areas as they struggle to regain stability. I hope that we can work together as a determined and hard-working country to end this crucial issue in order to bring stability and beneficial opportunities to these heroes.


Sarah M.