There are many reasons why individuals and families become homeless. As with incarceration, where 80% of those incarcerated are drug related crimes, drug abuse is a major factor.
According to the Veteran Administration web site; “currently there are approximately 50,000 homeless veterans. Research shows that the greatest risk factors for homelessness are lack of support and social isolation after discharge. Veterans have low marriage rates and high divorce rates; and, currently, 1 in 5 veterans is living alone. Social networks are particularly important for those who have a crisis or need temporary help. Without this assistance, they are at high risk for homelessness”. “With an estimated 500,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 20% of those in need, leaving 400,000 veterans without supportive services”. Drug and alcohol abuse is particularly high among veterans.
Lack of support and social isolation for all addicts and at-risk individuals is the primary reason for homelessness. Detox and short-term treatment is only the beginning of the recovery process, which explains the high recidivism rates of those programs. Affordable transitional housing with supportive services has shown to have high outcomes for helping people return to a stable and productive life.