Trying To Curb Homelessness Among Veterans

By KBJR News 1

November 11, 2010 Updated Nov 11, 2010 at 10:37 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- On any given day including Veteran's Day you can find more than 600 vets living on the streets in Minnesota.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 23% of the people who are homeless have served their country.

Some are homeless because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can often be combined with substance abuse.

Others find it hard to merge into the civilian workforce because military training and occupations aren't always transferable, putting them at a disadvantage for employment.

MACV in Duluth is working to help homeless Northland vets.

"We shouldn't have homelessness in this country at all but the men and women who raise their right hand and swore to protect the constitution of the United States and are willing to come home in a body bag for this country should never, ever be homeless, period," said Durbin Keeney, Regional Director.

MACV is currently working on a new military housing project in West Duluth that will provide both permanent and temporary housing for up to 21 homeless veterans.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has said that he wants to end homelessness for Veterans in the next five years.

While that's an ambitious goal MACV says they're doing their best in the Northland to meet that goal.

Prevention is about 70% of their focus...trying to supply veterans with the right resources so they don't get to the point of homelessness in the first place.