Helping San Diego's vast veteran population
More than 1.29 million veterans live in California, according to census data.
- That's about 4% of the state's population.
Why it matters: Saturday is Veterans Day, a chance to honor those who have served in the armed forces.
Zoom in: San Diego County is home to more than 100,000 active-duty service members and 240,000 veterans, making it one of the largest concentrations of military personnel in the country.
- Many struggle with mental health issues and nearly 1,000 are experiencing homelessness, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Between the lines: Veterans are over-represented in the county's homeless population, the Union-Tribune reported.
- They make up 6% of the county's population, 9% of people living without shelter and 7% of those in shelters.
- County leaders launched a Leave No Veteran Homeless initiative in July, calling on landlords to offer rooms and accept more housing vouchers to help end the local crisis.
The big picture: Nationwide, there isn't a strong enough safety net for the people who risk their lives to keep us safe.
- 13% of adults experiencing homelessness are veterans.
- About 15 in every 100 veterans are living with PTSD.
We asked veterans, academics and community organizers how to best help:
1. Donate. There are a slew of organizations that help veterans in big and small ways.
- The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) that offers resources for families who've lost loved ones because of war.
2. Volunteer. Give rides to vets with disabilities via Disabled American Veterans, or write letters via Operation Gratitude.
3. Embrace conversation and say thank you.
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