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More Military Vets Becoming Homeless Due to High Housing Costs

A new report says California's high housing cost is driving military vets into homelessness. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says veterans make up a disproportionate share of the overall h

More Military Vets Becoming Homeless Due to High Housing Costs

A new report says California's high housing cost is driving military vets into homelessness.   The National Alliance to End Homelessness says veterans make up a disproportionate share of the overall homeless population.   KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps has more.

An estimated 50,000 vets are homeless on any given night in California. The report says many more are at risk for homelessness because tens of thousands of them spend more than half their income on rent. Half of those people live in poverty. That's one of the highest rates in the nation.

Thomas Richards is chairman of San Diego County's United Veterans Council. He says housing is just one element of a downward spiral.

Richards : They have PTSD . They're depressed. They have difficulty with relationships, which includes relationships with employers, by the way. But they also have difficulty concentrating, making it difficult to do a job. They're spiraling down and they do substance abuse of one kind or another. In that spiral, then they encounter higher housing costs; well, yes, there's a correlation there.

As a solution, the report suggests permanent supportive housing options for veterans. Richards says San Diego already has that, in the Veterans Village of San Diego .

Richards : People have to live on campus while they're there. They're treated for their personality disorders. If the counseling suggests that they should have medications for their personality disorder, it gets them registered for the medications.

Richards says San Diego County is home to California's second largest concentration of veterans, out of about 2.2 million statewide.

Andrew Phelps, KPBS News.