The number of homeless veterans in Kentucky has increased in recent years, a new report says.
Numbers released Thursday by the Kentucky Housing Corporation show the number of homeless veterans jumped 37 percent in the last four years. The report indicates that the higher numbers are in part a result of troop withdrawals in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, beginning in 2009, as well as an increased effort by various organizations to count homeless veterans.
The proportion of veterans in the overall homeless population in Kentucky increased this year as well, to greater than 10 percent.
If the trend continues, the report warns, Kentucky will be among the top 10 states for veteran homelessness.
In a statement accompanying the report’s release, KHC executive director Richard McQuady connected the ability to accurately deduce the size of the problem to efforts that seek to treat it.
“The increased efforts by our partners and staff who work to ensure those who fought for our country are cared for are shown by this increase in numbers,” McQuady said. “With all of us working together, we can find new and better ways to meet this important need.”
In 2009, President Obama announced an initiative with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that would seek to eradicate veteran homelessness nationwide by 2015.
The KHC report also found that homeless veterans in Kentucky continue to suffer from a higher proportion of mental health and substance abuse issues—including post-traumatic stress disorder—than other homeless sub-populations.
The full KHC report can be found here.