Homeless rate among Veterans has increased - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

KILLEEN

Homeless rate among Veterans has increased

KILLEEN, TX (KXXV) -

The number of homeless US Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has more than doubled over the past two years. Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are particularly at risk because of their young age and their likelihood of being in combat. Seventy percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have been exposed to combat, which increases their chances of having psychological problems.

Paula Wood, the Central Texas Homeless Veterans Coordinator, explains why Iraq and Afghanistan combat soldiers are discharging at an alarming rate.

"I think a lot of our young veterans, our combat veterans are getting out because of numerous deployments," Wood explains, "And the strain on their families."

It is because of this that many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are at risk for psychological and mental health problems.

The Veteran's Affairs Medical Center in Temple has several programs that assist veterans including the Families in Crisis Center in Killeen. William Hall, Director of Operations, tells News Channel 25 they have helped over 280 veterans get on their feet.

"We coordinate with the VA and some of the other service providers to help veterans navigate through the system to get benefits they are entitled to so they can be self sufficient," said Hall.

The Veteran's Affairs Medical Center and Families in Crisis are actively working together, along with other VA programs, to end homelessness. Wood and Hall both understand the sense of urgency to keep veterans employed and a roof over their head.

"We are doing everything we can to end homelessness. Really, our veterans should not be homeless. Their families should not be struggling financially," said Wood.

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