The USA has a lot in place to support veterans, yet, many still end up experiencing substandard living conditions. Advocacy group Providence estimates that 1.4 million veterans are at risk of going below the poverty line and/or losing their homes, the latter a major factor contributing to the homeless veteran crisis. When veterans return home they often receive good support, but widening access to that and fine-tuning it for the veteran audience is crucial to honoring their service.
The housing question
Veterans receive access to good support when buying their first home. Using the VA home loan calculator, they can effectively assess what they will pay, and the state or federal authority will provide for the roughly 20% down payment needed. Trouble happens in delinquency: 2.8% of American veterans default on their mortgage. One scheme being touted is permanent housing for homeless veterans. Whereas most housing schemes provide temporary accommodation, one study suggests that permanent housing will not cost a lot, and can provide a much-needed foundation for veterans.
This foundation is sorely needed due to the veteran mental health epidemic. According to the Atlantic Council, roughly one in three Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are diagnosed with some form of mental illness, commonly PTSD and depression. This is a huge rate, and something not entirely considered in VA hospitals in the past. Bringing mental health care to the forefront alongside physical healthcare is crucial to generating better outcomes for veteran patients.
Education and skills
Education is another area of clear benefit in joining the armed services – with the right grades, a tour of service can get a veteran into the very best schools. According to Forbes and a number of other analysts, not enough is being done to tap this demographic – they assert that veterans could amply fill the skills gap. With the mindset to flourish in academic and work settings, where determination and creativeness flourish, veterans could be a great untapped resource for future generations in the country’s key roles. All they need is that push to achieve.
Veterans deserve the best, but they don’t always get it. Understanding their complex needs is something that Americans in all walks of life should be comfortable with. Doing so, and helping veterans to become comfortable and productive, will be to the benefit of the country as a whole – not just the veterans themselves.