November 11th, 2009

On this Veteran’s Day, I thought I would look at how military service impacts economic security.

According to the Census Bureau, poverty is low among veterans. Only 5.6 percent of veterans lived in poverty in 1999 – or about half the rate for all adults, which was 10.9 percent.

However, our youngest veterans, those who served in August 1990 or later, were among the most likely to be poor, with a poverty rate of 6.2 percent. And, according to this story from the Boston Globe,  the VA says that the number of homeless women veterans is on the rise.

An estimated 6,500 female veterans end up homeless.  While that’s a relatively small number, it is twice was it was a decade ago. Again, younger veterans are more at risk: One out of every 10 homeless vets under the age of 45 is now a woman.  And many are single moms.

More from the Globe:

“Some of the first homeless vets that walked into our office were single moms,’’ said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “When people think of homeless vets, they don’t think of a Hispanic mother and her kids. The new generation of veterans is made up of far more women.’’

Overall, female veterans are now between two and four times more likely to end up homeless than their civilian counterparts, according to the VA, most as a result of the same factors that contribute to homelessness among male veterans: mental trauma related to their military service and difficulty transitioning into the civilian economy.

I will be thinking about these women and their children when I give thanks to all the women and men who fight and fought for our country.  God Bless.