More US Iraq, Afghanistan veterans homeless

This video from the USA is called A Night with Glen, Disgruntled Homeless Veteran part one.

From the Boston Globe in the USA:

Shelters take many vets of Iraq, Afghan wars

Also housing those from earlier eras

By Anna Badkhen, Globe Correspondent | August 7, 2007

NORTHAMPTON — After Kevin returned from Iraq, he spent most nights lying awake in his Army barracks in Hawaii, clutching a 9mm handgun under his pillow, bracing for an attack that never came.

His fits of sleep brought nightmares of the wounded and dying troops whom Kevin, a combat medic, had treated over 16 months of suicide attacks and roadside bombings. He kept thinking about an attack that killed 13 of his comrades. He hated himself for having survived.

Soon he was drinking so heavily that the Army discharged him. He moved back in with his parents in Narragansett, R.I., and drank even more, until they asked him to leave. Less than two years after he returned, Kevin became one of a growing number of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are now homeless.

“I lived in my car, at the Wal-Mart parking lot,” said Kevin, who asked that his last name not be published because he is considering reenlisting. He has been staying at a homeless shelter in Northampton since early July.

Kevin’s tailspin encapsulates a little-researched consequence of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As more troops return from deployments, social workers and advocates expect the number of the homeless to increase, flooding the nation’s veterans’ shelters, which are already overwhelmed by homeless veterans from other wars.

“It’s a major problem that’s not going away anytime soon,” said Cheryl Beversdorf, director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington, who estimates that hundreds, perhaps thousands of troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are living in shelters.Kevin’s story illustrates the lagging response of overburdened government agencies to the needs of troops returning from wars, said Jack Downing, who runs the shelter where Kevin and four other veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are staying.

“The general public believes that when a vet comes home, he’s well taken care of,” Downing said. “That’s a horrible misunderstanding.”

No one keeps track of how many of the 750,000 troops who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 are homeless.

5 thoughts on “More US Iraq, Afghanistan veterans homeless

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