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Report Finds San Diego Ill Prepared For Large Influx Of Military Vets

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.

Evening Edition

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.

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Avatar for user 'alain_j_perez'

alain_j_perez | February 16, 2012 at 10:26 a.m. ― 5 years, 1 month ago

This story is really sad, sad to know our veterans are ending up in the streets and we can't really do anything about it.

I'm a veteran myself, served 9 years with the Marine Corps, and went to Iraq twice, including my first time when we initially invaded. I left the service back in 2005 but a year before leaving the service I headed back to school and obtained my associates degree in health care management. This kind of degree is really close to nothing nowadays, but I figure it was better than anything.

Right out of school I went to a job fair being hosted by my school in which I met a representative from Scripps Health. She recruited me and she ended up being my supervisor for the next three years. Then I transfer to another department with Scripps and now I'm a Research Assistant working to find the best and latest treatment in cancer. I've been with Scripps for six years and I couldn't be any happier.

Yes, I do consider myself lucky. However, I think luck has very little to do with how my life has turn out to be. I believe my decision to go back to school while still in the military was instrumental in my successes after military life.

I'm a strong believer in that the intervention must happen prior to individuals leaving the military so they are prepared once they go out into the civilian life. The military is an institution that helps their service members every step of the way, they make every decision in the individual’s life, and they provide food and shelter through their career. By going to school/college/university prior to leaving the service, the individual will be able to begin acclimating to civilian life. Service members’ biggest problem is the fact that they are so accustom to being provided with everything they need in life. No wonder some of them find themselves in the street once the "umbilicus cord" has been cut off.

Is not easy going to school while still in the service; they might find that they’ll need to drop out of some classes because they have to deploy somewhere in the world. But all it takes is a little planning and communication with their supervisors and it can be done. I had to take classes here and there in between deployments, and even had to extend my military contract by one year in order to have enough time to finish school. It is very difficult but with determination and a good attitude it can be achieve.

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