The proportion of veterans among homeless men: a decade later
- Cite this article as:
- Gamache, G., Rosenheck, R. & Tessler, R. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2001) 36: 481. doi:10.1007/s001270170012
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Background: The purpose of this report is to evaluate the risk of homelessness among veterans as compared to non-veterans, and to ascertain whether the exceptionally high risk of homelessness among post-Vietnam era veterans first observed in 1987 was still evident one decade later. Method: Data from the 1996 National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients and the 1996 Current Population Survey were used to examine the risks of homelessness among veteran men as compared to non-veteran men, stratified by age and race. Results: The present results show that the cohort of veterans aged 20–34 that was most at risk in the 1980 s, although no longer the youngest, still has the highest risk for homelessness. In 1996, the youngest cohort of veterans is also over-represented, but not to the extent found among young men 10 years before. Veterans over the age of 55 showed no increased risk of homelessness as compared to non-veterans. Conclusions: The observed cohort effect, which demonstrates an especially high risk of homelessness among veterans of the immediate post-Vietnam era, even as they age, may reflect the continuing influence of the early problems in recruiting for the All Volunteer Force (AVF). In contrast to the national draft, which promised a fair representation of the entire population of draft-eligible young men, the AVF also had the potential to attract young men with fewer alternative opportunities.