Thursday, February 16, 2012
A new report predicts the homeless problem for military veterans in San Diego is likely to persist. It shows various federal, state and San Diego agencies spent $54 million dollars on the problem between 2009 and 2010. But the money has done little to provide affordable housing or jobs for homeless vets.
One out of four homeless people on the streets of San Diego is a military veteran. On any given night up to 2000 are either on the streets or living in a temporary shelter. Because of its strong military presence -- San Diego is also home to the largest veteran population in the country.
"There's still a lot more work to be done,"said Erik Bruvold. He's President of the National University System Institute for Policy Research in La Jolla. Bruvold said the federal governments goal of ending homelessness among vets by 2015 is likely to become harder. "Prior veterans have done better than their non-veteran counter parts, they have higher incomes, low unemployment rates and they participate at a greater rate in the labor force," he said.
But the study finds those who've served since 9/11, mostly twenty-something year olds, are suffering at far greater numbers. "So that's got to be of concern. Over the next decade about 16,000 post 9/11 veterans are expected to come to San Diego, Bruvold said.
But is San Diego prepared to deal with the influx? "If we don't have proactive efforts to address that problem we're really at risk for some of those to fall into poverty, he said.
The NUSIPR study also finds the majority of vets go into jobs we don't offer in San Diego, such as manufacturing and federal civilian work.
"Conversely, veterans don't seem to go into the Hospitality industry something we've grown a tremendous amount of in San Diego and there doesn't seem to be a huge number going into the science and technology industries that have remained a bright spot for San Diego, Bruvold said.