As Obama Touts Refugee Resettlement, Many Veterans Sleep on the Streets

Brittany M. Hughes | November 18, 2015
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While President Obama repeatedly touts plans to resettle roughly 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States, pointing to American values and the terrible plight of displaced people fleeing the war-torn nation, nearly 50,000 homeless veterans continue to sleep on the streets in cities throughout the United States.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 49,933 homeless vets slept on the street any given night in 2014.

But that figure doesn't even begin to address the total number of veterans who are affected by homelessness. According to

One-third of adult homeless men and nearly one-quarter of all homeless adults have served in the armed forces. While there is no true measure of the number of homeless veterans, it has been estimated that fewer than 200,000 veterans may be homeless on any given night and that twice as many veterans experience homelessness during a year. Many other veterans are considered at risk because of poverty, lack of support from family and friends and precarious living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. Ninety-seven percent of homeless veterans are male and the vast majority are single. About half of all homeless veterans suffer from mental illness and more than two-thirds suffer from alcohol or drug abuse problems. Nearly 40 percent have both psychiatric and substance abuse disorders.

But homelessness isn’t unique to those who have honorably served their country. Even as Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) accuses his Republican counterparts of turning away Syrian women and children out of “fear, or perhaps hate,” federal government data shows there were more than 1.36 million homeless children enrolled in public schools in the United States in the 2013-14 school year.

There are also more than 45 million people on food stamps in the United States, government data shows. That’s more than the entire population of Canada.

In fact, until about midway through 2015, there were more than 46 million food stamp recipients for about three and a half years straight.