The other thing is, contrary to narrative, it doesn't have to happen all at once. There's slippage: a military man is trained to react to a crisis. When he or she comes home and it's totally different, they may cope for awhile in crisis mode. Then one thing happens, or another. The mask cracks. They end up on the street.
It's easy to say something needs to happen. There's a feel-good level to that. But then there's the part where people back from war actually have issues: broken families, the community safety net broken since they left. Others have hypervigilance, drug abuse, alcoholism. Still others: organic brain damage, or constant pain. Those things aren't pretty. Neither is war. We know who endured the most. Still endures the most.
Of the homeless population, it's estimated that 47% of them are Vietnam veterans. We failed these vets: it was partly our popular culture at the time, which I have never understood but must accept. It was also a failure on the part of military culture, the VA culture. The lack of advance in psychology over PTSD. The enduring contribution of the Vietnam Veteran Homeless may well be that the current returning veterans are getting treatment sooner.
Good word is coming out from Eric Shinseki's work with the VA. But as I have said before, the VA doesn't work for everyone. Or it isn't the only thing a person needs. Hey: hire a vet. Or if you're not in a hiring position, maybe just talk to one sometime. Every hello and how are you is part of their return to us. It may lead to something deeper or better. Try to know what you can in the way you can do it.
There's a few interesting stories out there. This one is from ABC News.
At Vets Edge dot Org: A true story of a veteran who nearly failed twice, written by himself.
From the Beloit Daily News: about two-thirds of the way down, the veterans' accounts start in this story.