Do homeless veterans have the same needs and outcomes as non-veterans?
ABSTRACT Although veterans have been found to be at increased risk for homelessness as compared to non-veterans, it is not clear whether those who are homeless have more severe health problems or poorer outcomes in community-based supported housing. This observational study compared 162 chronically homeless veterans to 388 non-veterans enrolled in a national-supported housing initiative over a 1-year period. Results showed that veterans tended to be older, were more likely to be in the Vietnam era age group, to be male, and were more likely to have completed high school than other chronically homeless adults. There were no differences between veterans and non-veterans on housing or clinical status at baseline or at follow-up, but both groups showed significant improvement over time. These findings suggest that the greater risk of homelessness among veterans does not translate into more severe problems or treatment outcomes. Supported housing programs are similarly effective for veterans and non-veterans.
Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research 07/2012; DOI:10.1007/s10488-012-0431-y · 3.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has been increasing efforts to reach out to assist incarcerated veterans. While previous studies have shown strong associations between incarceration and homelessness, few studies have examined distinctive characteristics of incarcerated homeless and non-homeless veterans. National administrative data on 30,348 incarcerated veterans served by the Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) program were analyzed. Incarcerated veterans were classified into four groups based on their history of past homelessness: not homeless, transiently homeless, episodically homeless, and chronically homeless. Multinomial logistic regression was used to compare groups on sociodemographic characteristics, criminal justice status, clinical status, and their interest in using VHA services. Of the sample, 70 % were classified as not homeless, 8 % as transiently homeless, 11 % as episodically homeless, and 11 % as chronically homeless. Thus, 30 % of the sample had a homeless history, which is five times the 6 % rate of past homelessness among adult men in the general population. Compared to non-homeless incarcerated veterans, all three homeless groups reported significantly more mental health problems, more substance abuse, more times arrested in their lifetime, more likely to be incarcerated for a non-violent offense, and were more interested in receiving VHA services after release from prison. Together, these findings suggest re-entry programs, like HCRV, can address relevant mental health-related service needs, especially among formerly homeless veterans and veterans in need of services are receptive to the offer of assistance.Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research 03/2013; DOI:10.1007/s10488-013-0483-7 · 3.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Purpose. To understand the needs and challenges encountered by older homeless veterans. Methods. We conducted six focus groups of older veterans, two focus groups, and one semi-structured interview of VA staff liaisons, and two focus groups and one semi-structured interview of housing intervention providers. Results. Major themes for older veterans: 1) negative homelessness experience; 2) benefits of the structured transitional housing program; 3) importance of peer outreach; and 4) need for age-tailored job placement programs. Major themes for VA staff liaison/housing intervention providers: 1) belief that the transitional housing program has made a positive change; 2) need for individualized criteria to address the unique needs of veterans; 3) distinct differences between older and younger homeless veterans; 4) outreach services; 5) permanent housing issues; and 6) coordination of services. Discussion. Compared with younger veterans, older veterans have less social support, greater employment and health challenges, and, perhaps greater motivation to change.Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 01/2013; 24(2):487-498. DOI:10.1353/hpu.2013.0089 · 1.10 Impact Factor