Young homeless veterans doubled in 2 years

Dec. 27, 2012 at 9:33 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The number of homeless Afghanistan war veterans has more than doubled in the past two years, from 10,500 in 2010 to 26,531 through September, officials said.

That number includes those living on the streets, at risk of losing their homes, staying in temporary housing or receiving federal vouchers to pay rent, the Department of Veterans Affairs said.

The number could be higher, the VA said, because it only includes the homeless of which the department is aware.

Anne Murphy, a Salvation Army program director in Los Angeles said veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are different than those of other wars.

"They're younger, much more savvy and they don't necessarily like to ask for help," she told USA Today. "But there are a lot of them out there."

The psychological effects of war, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, compounded by a slow economic recovery have contributed to homelessness, the VA said.

Meanwhile, overall numbers of veteran homelessness has declined following President Barack Obama's vow in 2009 to end homelessness by 2015, USA Today reported Wednesday.

The number fell from 76,329 in 2010 to 62,619 in 2012.

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