Astellas Gets Behind U.S. Veterans to Find Housing

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Sadly, thousands of U.S. service men and women are finding their time as veterans as less than heroic, as many are facing homelessness—a statistic that is on the rise. A staggering 17 percent of America’s homeless population are veterans. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that some 1.5 million veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and dismal, overcrowded, living conditions. Research shows that the greatest risk factors for veterans are a lack of support and social isolation after discharge. These factors contribute to the fact that they are much more likely than the population at large to suffer from homelessness.

Afghanistan War veterans are particularly at risk because of their young age and their exposure to guerrilla combat with its psychological effects on repeated tours of duty. Some facts: seventy percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans had exposure to actual combat. About 30,700 are expected to leave the military in each of the next four years as the military reduces its ranks. An estimated 13 percent of homeless Afghan and Iraq war veterans are women. And almost 50 percent of all homeless veterans are African-American.

The most common story behind these homeless veterans is one of psychological trauma, which, combined with a tough economic climate, means there are fewer jobs for them when they return. Some also have enormous issues with relationships, from trauma which causes a high incidence of abuse of alcohol and drugs. Veterans may wind up in jail, as they have difficulty in adjusting to civilian life after being part of fierce combat for so long. This is why the work of A Veterans Community, which has partnered with Astellas, is vital.

A  Veterans Community, is a not-for-profit with a mission to provide safe, stable housing to homeless veterans and their families. It now has the support of Astellas employees who assembled 1,800 care packages for homeless veterans, which will support the organisation for the rest of the year. This year, Astellas employees are commemorating the Company’s 10th anniversary by pledging to contribute 10,000 volunteer hours between May 2015 and March 2016. Employees are committed to making a difference taking part in many volunteer activities from restoring a park, supporting food banks and preparing meals for families of children in paediatric hospitals.

The big challenges that many veterans face, especially those most recently in combat, is that they do not ask for help and regularly refuse it when it’s offered. While there is a lot of help, the difficulty is finding them. In a sad twist of fate, men and women who are used to surviving in the harshest of combat conditions are finding it tough surviving in America, their homeland. 

Photo Credit: Walkadog On Flickr