Eau Claire (WQOW)- When veterans return home after serving, often times they face a new battle, one that can look a lot different than we may imagine.
According to the Eau Claire County Veterans Office, staff help at least a few homeless veterans in the Chippewa Valley every month. They work to get many of these veterans off the streets and into temporary places to stay, like hotels, while working to find long term solutions.
But veterans hold a unique role in the homeless community, which can in turn bring unique struggles in trying to get them the help they need. Adam Kohls, from the Eau Claire County Veterans Office, said this includes their survival instinct and their hesitation to seek help.
"Veterans are military, or trained to survived on next to nothing, so they've got a stronger survival instinct. But they're also less apt to get help, [they're] more proud, so it's harder for them to reach out and say,'I need help,'" Kohls said. "Those are the two extremes, that they'll survive for a long time out there because they have the training, but they're not going to come to you as often and ask for your help."
However, not coming forward for help can cause veterans to miss out on the benefits they all have access to, which is something many veterans don't know is available. From housing help to mental health and healthcare needs, Eau Claire County can either provide these services, or provide the networking that is necessary to get these veterans the help they deserve.
For more information on the benefits that are available to veterans, and how to receive help, visit the Veteran's Assistance Foundation website here.
Across the nation, veterans make up 7 percent of the general population, but that percentage nearly doubles when it comes to the homeless population, making up 13 percent. The Wisconsin Veterans Foundation also said that 25 percent of returning veterans have become homeless.