The Toll Homelessness takes on the health of our embattled veterans

If you are homeless, you will likely get sick. It’s an additional head shaker on a tragedy for our homeless veterans and one I’m experiencing myself in Orlando.

You will lose weight because you’re not eating well.

You will experience a weakened immune system because of guarded sleep.

You will catch an infection from the crowded conditions of shelters and sanitary conditions on the street.

You will experience mental health challenges as you experience losing everything you own and begin to doubt the reason why you’re even bothering to exist. Sadly, this one haunts you even if you get help.

It’s a terrifying experience as you lose the last two allies you have. Your mind and your body. They will betray you because the resources don’t exist to keep them healthy.

There are resources for homeless veterans to get health care. But keep in mind this is the VA we’re talking about. Many of us couldn’t get an appointment when we were healthy. You’re even less likely to get past the red tape now that all of your power is gone.

And the worst part is that no one around you cares. You smell because you can’t stay clean. Depending on where your VA clinic is, you may not even be able to get there. The system is overwhelmed and the few good helpers we have are numb to what they see everyday.

Goodness. I miss feeling safe.

This also ties into why veterans suicides continue to rise. It is so hard for our brothers and sisters to reason when they’re sick and can’t get to help.

The answers here aren’t easy. Housing veterans in safe and supportive environments will help. But we’re nowhere near helping as many as we need to.

That’s all I got. I don’t even have anything positive to close on. Take care.

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Next: Read about the vast loneliness our veterans experience every day of their existence.

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