With Veterans Day less than a month away, our team (Lothar Krause, Ezra Eeman and Lindsey McCormack) will examine the changing face of veteran homelessness.
In the wake of the US occupation of Iraq and ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, millions of young veterans are facing the challenge of reintegrating into society. A growing percentage of the homeless veteran population is comprised of young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a 2011 government report, young veterans are more than twice as likely to be homeless as their non-veteran counterparts.
For this project, we will use currently available data to map the US veteran homeless population state by state. Unfortunatley, the Veteran’s Administration has not released the raw data on geographic distribution of Iraq/Afghanistan vets. Our maps will include the total veteran population in each state, as well as the portion of each state’s overall homeless population that is comprised of veterans. This approach has already yielded some surprises. For instance, Kansas has a very small number of homeless veterans compared to states like California and New York, but almost 1 out of every 3 homeless people there is a veteran.
We will also include charts and other illustrations of the changing face of homeless veterans. The stereotypical picture of a homeless vet is a white man who fought in Vietnam. However, veterans who served since 2001 include many more women, African-Americans and Latinos.
Finally, we are interested to see if overall VA expenditures per state correspond to those states that have a high rate of veteran homelessness.
Our data sources include:
For homeless vets: the Veteran Administration’s 2011 Point-In-Time Census of Homeless Veterans
For overall veteran population: the VA’s VetPop2007 data set, based on a 2007 census with population estimates up to the year 2036.
For state-level expenditures on veterans programs: the Geographic Distribution of VA Expenditures (GDX) Report, released in May 2012.
- Dennis Culhane, Director of Research for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
- Paul Rieckhoff, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
- Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Director of the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University