Homeless Veterans Among Hundreds Seeking Help | Charleston, South Carolina | Post and Courier
A year ago, 1970s Army veteran Danny Brown was homeless and living in a tent in Savannah. He now is in Charleston, trying to get back on his feet.
While Brown has seen a lot in the past 12 months, one troubling trend he has noticed is the growing number of younger vets also on the streets.
“Most seemed to be offered a lot of help, but it’s all paper help,” he said, pointing to the hurdles and bureaucracy behind seeking health care, a job or housing.
Brown was among the hundreds who showed up Thursday in North Charleston for the 12th annual Stand Down Against Homelessness, widely seen as an annual gauge of the region’s homeless issues.
Sponsors said the event has grown into one of the largest of its kind in the country. An estimated 2,500 people, slightly up from last year, are expected to be seen and screened before the program wraps-up today at Armory Park.
As many as one-third of those who are helped are expected to be veterans.
Most agree that the issue of homeless ex-warriors will worsen in the future, with a significant jump expected in the 12 months after the last of the 40,000 troops recently ordered home from Iraq return.
“It takes about a year,” said Tonya Lobbestael, public affairs officer at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, a co-sponsor of the event with Goodwill Industries.
Within that time, former servicemen and women usually can figure out how difficult, or simple, their transition out of the military will be, she said.
The Charleston area’s number of homeless is estimated to be around 17,500, with as many as 15 percent of them veterans. Nationally, the number of homeless vets today is estimated at around 76,000.
via Post and Courier