Date: 24 Jul 2012

Homeless Veterans Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan: Gender Differences, Combat Exposure, and Comparisons with Previous Cohorts of Homeless Veterans

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Introduction

Ending homelessness among veterans is a national priority of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Homelessness has been a public health problem for over three decades and veterans are of particular concern given their military service for the country. Yet there is little understanding of the risk of homelessness and of the unique characteristics and clinical needs of homeless veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND).

The extant literature on homelessness has focused primarily on two categories of risk factors: sociodemographic characteristics and psychiatric difficulties. Regarding sociodemographic characteristics, the majority of homeless veterans have been characterized as unmarried, unemployed, poor, mostly White males in their late 40’s, with histories of homelessness and incarceration (Rosenheck and Koegel 1993; Tsai et al. 2012; US Department of Housing and Urban Development and US Department of Veterans Affairs