Homeless Hoosier veterans on the rise, despite country decrease

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – President Obama announced this week that the number of homeless veterans across the country has dropped by nearly 50 percent.

Every night, Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation serves 203 homeless veterans and there are 50 people are their waiting list.

They say that number has not changed despite this week’s announcement.

“We are still seeing homeless veterans that need our help. They’re coming in, some with just the clothes on their back and we’re providing them with food, clothing, hygiene items, case management and other basic needs,” said Debra Des Vignes, vice president of marketing and communications for the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation.

The Indiana University Public Policy Institute looks at the number of homeless people in Marion County every year.

As part of their 10 year trends they found the total number of homeless people in Marion County has decreased, but the number of homeless veterans has increased both in numbers and as part of the total homeless population.

According to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute, in Marion County, veterans make up 25 percent by of the adult population experiencing homelessness, down 3 percent from 2015.

Experts say veterans are more likely than others experiencing homelessness to be alone, have a problem with drugs or alcohol and have a physical disability. PTSD can also be a contributing factor.

Veterans that stay at Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation can stay up to two years. They receive help finding a job as well as permanent housing.

“I was at the end of the road, but pride kept me out there for a long time. You know, being a veteran and in the military, surrender is something that is not normal for us, but after awhile, it’s all you can do,” said Gary Trabue, a Navy veteran who stayed at Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation for more than a year.

If you would like to help Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, click here.

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