Bill O'Reilly makes Ed Schultz's "classic" edition of Psycho Talk for his comment back in Jan. 2008 that there were not many homeless veterans out there. As Ed notes the Department of Veterans Affairs paints a very different picture today:
About one-third of the adult homeless population have served their country in the Armed Services. Current population estimates suggest that about 131,000 Veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year. Many other Veterans are considered near homeless or at risk because of their poverty, lack of support from family and friends, and dismal living conditions in cheap hotels or in overcrowded or substandard housing.
Right now, the number of homeless male and female Vietnam era Veterans is greater than the number of service persons who died during that war -- and a small number of Desert Storm veterans are also appearing in the homeless population. Although many homeless Veterans served in combat in Vietnam and suffer from PTSD, at this time, epidemiologic studies do not suggest that there is a causal connection between military service, service in Vietnam, or exposure to combat and homelessness among Veterans. Family background, access to support from family and friends, and various personal characteristics (rather than military service) seem to be the stronger indicators of risk of homelessness.