The Veterans Administration estimates that on any given night, 107,000 veterans are homeless. And more than half of that number — 56 percent — are black, even though blacks account for only 12.8 percent of the U.S. population. Too manyblack veterans are homeless.” They are sleeping under bridges and in vacant buildings,” says Richard Kingsberry, the North Carolina state commander for the National Association of Black Veterans.
“The military gets you in, they mold you and send you back home a different person than you were when you went in,” Kingsberry told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “The problem for black veterans is that many are Vietnam vets. They experienced a backlash when they returned” and some still can’t deal with it, he said.
While a majority of the homeless veterans he encounters are from the Vietnam era, a growing number are from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more black women vets also are now homeless, said BlackAmericaWeb.com.
“A lot of National Guard soldiers were sent to this war. Many of them only had income from their drill checks before they went off to war. They often have the added problem of post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental illnesses, no one will hire them and insurance companies won’t cover them.