U.S. tackles rising veteran homelessness

Dec. 26, 2010 at 2:43 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The Veterans Administration says more than 9,000 U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have been homeless, but the military says it is working on prevention.

"It was embarrassing, pretty embarrassing especially as a veteran. Honor, pride, duty, loyalty, all these things, you know, that kick in as a soldier, you know, and then to find yourself here," said Jose Pagon, a homeless veteran interviewed by Bob Woodruff for ABC's "This Week."

"In Iraq we say you fight now and you cry later," said Pagon. "Here everything is backwards. You just always are constantly crying."

Woodruff said, "The current economy has only made things worse, especially for young veterans. Their unemployment rate is 20 percent, about double the national average."

But Seth Diamond, a New York City official, said, "The Vietnam-era veterans were never properly re-established in their communities when they returned. The country has learned a lot."

Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, said, "Part of the problem is post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury."

All of the services have "wounded warrior programs" to "ensure that they get the help that they need" for "their transition from the military to civilian life," he said.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from UPI.com
Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories