Webinar: Addressing Homelessness Among Veterans of Recent Conflicts
Thursday, April 18 - from 2:00 to 3:30 PM
Location: Online webinar
Insurgent attacks and ill-defined battlefields have characterized operations Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and New Dawn (OND). Every location within these particular theaters of war—including military bases—has been rife with potentially life-threatening danger. Exposure to this relentless and all-encompassing peril, frequently encountered in urban settings and involving civilians, has resulted in feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and hypervigilance. Successful in-theater medical treatment has saved lives, but increased the number of Veterans who suffer visible, and invisible, wounds. Rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are higher than they have been in other wars, with an estimated one-third of troops suffering from PTSD.
Veterans who return to their families after separation from military service experience multiple stressors. Increased economic pressures, physical behavioral health distress, and interpersonal conflict have been widely described by researchers. PTSD and TBI are associated with higher than average rates of physical aggression and domestic violence. Suicide rates are also elevated. While initial reunification with families and friends is usually joyous, interpersonal tensions can occur as families adjust. This is no small problem. During a 12-month period (October 2009 – September 2010), an estimated 144,842 veterans spent at least one night in emergency shelter or transitional housing programs, accounting for 11.5 percent of all homeless adults (U.S. departments of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) and National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, 2010).
A 2011 expert panel event, Homelessness Among Veterans of Recent Conflicts, highlighted issues and solutions specific to America’s recent Veterans. This webinar includes participants from the expert panel who will provide a meaningful discussion of preventing and ending homelessness as it appears among Veterans of recent conflicts, recent research findings, successful strategies for working with this emerging population, and some cutting-edge solutions implemented by the Homeless Veterans Initiative for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Moderator A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., is the Region One Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Regional Administrator Power also serves as the SAMHSA Initiative Lead on the Strategic Priority for Military Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families, which focuses on collaboration and coordination to ensure that behavioral health needs for this population are met in a timely and effective manner. In 2012, she was honored for this work when the Department of Defense awarded her the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.
Susan Angell, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Homeless Veterans Initiative for the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). In this capacity, Dr. Angell leads the Department’s integrated efforts to eliminate Veteran homelessness and is the senior VA official responsible for orchestrating, coordinating, and overseeing all aspects of this initiative, as well as the various projects that collectively define it. Dr. Angell was a member of the core planning team and a panelist for the expert panel event, Homelessness Among Veterans of Recent Conflicts.
Stephen Metraux, Ph.D., is Deputy Director of Research at the National Center for Homelessness Among Veterans of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Public Health at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Dr. Metraux has completed extensive research related to homelessness and housing, particularly in the contexts of Veterans, community mental health, and incarceration and prisoner reentry. His current research includes identifying risk factors for homelessness among Veterans that can inform VA initiatives to prevent homelessness in this population. Dr. Metraux has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Stephen Peck, M.S.W., is President/CEO of the United States Veterans Initiative (U.S. VETS). He joined U.S. VETS in 1996 to start the Long Beach site, which ultimately grew to become the largest residential Veterans program in the country, housing 550 Veterans. Mr. Peck has initiated several special needs programs for the agency, including the Non-custodial Fathers Program, the ADVANCE Women’s Program, and the Veterans Re-Entry Project for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Mr. Peck also advocates for homeless Veterans on the state and national level. Stephen was a Marine Corps Lieutenant in Vietnam, serving with the 1st Marine Division near Danang.