The Salvation Army, one of the country’s largest homelessness service providers, has made a bold statement regarding their vision for Veterans who experience homelessness.
This comes during National Homelessness Week, where The Salvos along with other peak and industry bodies are advocating for an increased investment by Government in social housing to end homelessness, whilst injecting a much-needed economic boost into the building and construction sectors across Australia.
“The message from The Salvation Army is that no Veteran should be homeless, and we are committed to ensuring that this message can become a reality.
We want to focus not only on service provision for those currently in homelessness but also on prevention for those most at risk. Our Veterans deserve better. No veteran should experience homelessness. A safe, affordable and secure home is the very least we can ensure, accompanied by the necessary supports required” says The Salvation Army’s National General Manager of Homelessness Services, Livia Carusi.
Veterans are among the most vulnerable populations within Australian society to experience homelessness, due to the high proportion of mental health issues, namely the strong prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can exacerbate further issues of relationship breakdowns and alcohol/substance abuse.
This is reflected in the data, where 5.3% of recently transitioned Veterans were found to be homeless within 12 months of returning home, which is compared to just 1.9% of the Australian population suffering homelessness.
In a recent Salvation Army survey of their clients who have accessed homelessness services, 90% of respondents said that they believed the issue of homelessness was preventable, highlighting the strong need for prevention to work in conjunction with practical service delivery.
“The Salvos have been supporting Veterans suffering with homelessness for decades, supporting those in the aftermath of World Wars, the Vietnam War, and now all of those who identify as a Veteran, whether for Australia or abroad,” The Salvos Veteran Support Worker Johnathon Dyer said.
In Queensland, The Salvos have been running Veteran Support Programs for Veterans at risk or currently experiencing homelessness, offering housing support with great success over the past three years.
Throughout the life of the program, The Salvos have helped secure housing for almost 250 veterans who have experienced homelessness, and in the past 6 months they have successfully helped 85% of veterans who have presented to the program for support.
“We want to encourage Aussies to become more aware of the issue of Veteran homelessness, and to stand alongside The Salvos and other charities doing amazing work in this space. Join us in our pursuit to end Veteran Homelessness,” says Johnathon Dyer.