Homelessness in veterans rises due to increase in home prices, inflation

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: May. 30, 2022 at 7:05 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Today the nation is honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice serving in our nation’s military.

And as we pause to remember those brave men and women, a local non-profit hopes you’ll also take time to help our hurting veterans. Right now, there are thousands of veterans on the street without homes.

Veteran Rescue Mission, a veteran led nonprofit provides temporary housing and other resources.

They say, over the years, the homeless population has increased and with the pandemic, rising home prices, and inflation, there’s a greater need than ever.

“The major change we’ve seen among the unhoused veteran population is just a boom. 25% of our homeless population are veterans. So, if we have 6,000 homeless people in Tucson, that means 1500-2000 are veterans on our streets right now,” founder and pastor Jon McLane said.

Over the last five years Veteran Rescue Mission has housed more than 300 veterans and connected them to housing and benefits. After serving in Iraq, McLane lived on the streets for years. He built on his own personal experience to create veteran rescue mission and help others get back on their feet. The nonprofit is typically able to house about ten veterans, but with an increase in demand they are looking at ways to house more.

”Lately we’ve been getting two to three phone calls a day from different veterans, family members of veterans and different agencies just looking for places for people to stay because the cost of housing is so much higher than the section eight voucher allows,” he said.

Jeremy Adams, is staying at Veteran Rescue Mission.

″The best word I could put is “peaceful.” It’s very peaceful and very quiet. I’ve got a lot of time to plan my next step and next move. Lots of encouragement. Basically if you could live in an environment with no negativity, this would be it,” he said.

McLane says the housing crisis is an epidemic impacting our veteran population. There weren’t enough resources available before then pandemic and there’s even less now. That’s why he’s hoping the community will choose to help make a difference in the lives of homeless veterans every day, but especially on a day like today.

“Now more than ever, community members have to lean in and help with the problem. Whether that’s helping with one person or going to the salvation army or veteran rescue mission or going to different organizations and volunteering. We need everyone to kind of lean in at this point,” he said.

If you would like to help Veteran Rescue Mission, their big focus right now is on fundraising. They have a goal to be able to serve a thousand people every year. You can find more information here.

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