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Homeless veterans (Essay Sample)


This essay brings out the problems facing homeless veterans in America, and how the government is addressing the issue of homeless veterans.


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Homeless Veterans
Homeless veterans refer to a group of people who have served in the military of the United States of America, and do not have shelter or home at night. In this context homelessness refer to the nights spent on the street, abandoned building, in a car, in a homeless shelter, or with friends or family members without payment of rent. This portion of the American population is a vulnerable group since they are often prone to health problems having been exposed to various risks in the military. This group requires a special attention by all means. The US government assumes that all the veterans are fully supported by the government and has an access to free health care which is not the case. This is a sad misconception that needs to be addressed fully. In the 2005 fiscal year, the Veteran Affairs (VA) estimated the number of homeless veterans in US to be approximately 194,000 at any given night. The figures are actually much higher since it is difficult to obtain accurate figures (GAO, 2006, p.2).
Homeless veterans are associated with different health problems as compared to the health problems facing homeless individuals who never served in the military. They are more susceptible to drug abuse, physical and mental health disorders than the rest of the general homeless population. Therefore their inability to access treatment as well as the refusal to be treated makes them more susceptible to complications (Goldstein, 2010, pg. 311-312). Most veterans are always diagnosed with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders which have a negative impact on their health care decision making, thereby increasing the possibility of poor outcome. Those who are suffering from mental disorders may also be having multiple medical conditions which often go untreated because they are not able to make the right medical decisions. The homeless veterans are categorized into four sub groups based on the health complication. These groups include vascular disorders, addiction, mental disorders and general medical condition. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), nursing diagnoses of these sub groups of homeless veterans reveals the following findings (GAO, 2005, pg. 6):
* A state of powerlessness due to alcohol or substance addiction. Addiction of any form of drugs causes the feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness.
* Low self-esteem related to failure at certain point in life.
* The alteration of sensory perception makes them more prone to risk of injury. Drug addiction and altered mental state contributes to altered sensory perception among the homeless veterans.
* Anxiety related to loss of control or unconscious conflict with reality.
* Deficiency in self-care that results from losing contact with reality as well impaired perception.
* Social isolation due to regression, repressed fears, lack of trust and delusional thinking.
It has been estimated that about one-third of the homeless population are veterans. This segment of the population receives only 5.6% of the care in VA based clinics. The primary care services are under-utilized by most of the homeless veteran. More than half of this special group of America population have been diagnosed with mental disorder, 70% of them are addicted to alcohol, drugs or both. About a half of the homeless veterans participated in the Vietnam War making the average age of this group to range between 55 and 70 years old.
Inadequate toilet facilities, lack of hygiene and failure to treat diseases and infection has contributed to the rapid transmission of communicable diseases in communities in which the homeless veterans resides. This phenomenon has led to the avoidance of the general public and health officers to contact the homeless veterans for fear of contracting various diseases. As a result the homeless veterans have become more hopeless and disillusioned in life. To make the matter worse they have become reluctant to seek medical attention due to this negative attitude that the rest of the populace have against them.
In order to address the problems facing the homeless veterans the Veteran Administration established the Homeless Veterans Programs (HVP) to provide supportive services such as medical care, temporary housing and jobs with the ultimate focus of making them have an independent life style.
The programs aimed at assisting the homeless veterans
The United Stat...
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