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Memorial Day – 7 Facts Documenting Our Neglect of Millions of Veterans

Politicians who preach patriotism would do well to address these issues

A man asks for money in Philadelphia

Over 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  (Photo: Joseph C. Topping/flickr/cc)

While flags fly and politicians preach patriotism, millions of our veterans remain neglected.  Here are seven examples.

20.   Twenty veterans die by suicide each day.  In fact, the risk for suicide is 22 percent higher among veterans than the non-veteran population according to the Veterans Administration.

24.  Twenty four percent of all veterans, about 4.9 million people, have a service connected disability.  Hundreds of thousands more are trying to appeal denials of disability benefits.

40,065.  Over 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Only three in five homeless veterans are staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing.  Over 15,000 homeless veterans were staying in places not suitable for human habitation.

318,000.  The Veterans Administration estimated there are over 318,000 appeals of veteran benefits pending nationwide with an average wait time for appeals of 935 days.

370,000.   Over 370,000 veterans are unemployed according to the US Department of LaborUnemployment is higher for younger veterans between the ages of 22 and 34 than civilians.

1,465,807.  The Census Bureau reports that 1,465,807 veterans live under the official U.S. poverty line.

1,500,000.   Almost 1.5 million veterans live in households with low enough incomes that they receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps).

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Bill Quigley

Bill Quigley

Bill Quigley is Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans.  He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years. He volunteers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau de Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port au Prince. Contact Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

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