Service Members’ Perspectives on Veteran Homelessness in Maryland and Virginia

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Homelessness among military veterans (HAMV) is a protracted problem. In November 2009, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pledged to end the issue, but almost 12 years later, HAMV persists despite various solutions proposed. In January 2020, 37,252 veterans were reported as experiencing homelessness in the United States. The creation of previous solutions did not include the perspectives of service members. The purpose of this study was to bridge this gap in knowledge by discovering the views of service members on why veteran colleagues experience homelessness. The theoretical framework for this study was Allport’s trait theory. A qualitative case study design was employed, using semistructured interviews with 16 service members located in Maryland and Virginia. Snowball sampling technique was used to recruit participants for this study. Using descriptive-focused coding strategy, information from the interviews was coded and categorized for thematic analysis. Results indicated lack of preparedness to transition from the military and absence of support from people such as family members as two of risk factors of HAMV. The implications for social change that could result from the findings in this study include informing policymakers of the importance of the perspectives of service members in developing policies and processes to help homeless veterans. A better understanding of what leads to HAMV could help lead to more effective solutions to address the problem.

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