Hello, I’m Ed Ruckle, a Retired, United States Air Force Veteran and this is open channels.

In this BLOG, I will introduce you to the term “Homeless Veterans” and provide you with a brief history.

The term Homeless Veteran has many definitions. When used within the context of this video, the term “Homeless Veterans,” refers to persons who have served in the armed forces of the United States, who are homeless or living without access to secure and appropriate accommodations.


Veteran homelessness is not a phenomenon only of the 21st century. As early as the Reconstruction Era, homeless veterans were among the general homeless population. In 1932, homeless veterans were part of the Bonus Army.  In 1934, there were as many as a quarter million veterans living on the streets.

During the Truman Administration, there were one hundred thousand homeless veterans in Chicago. In 1987, the number of homeless veterans was as high as three hundred thousand. Estimates of the homeless population vary as these statistics are very difficult to obtain.

In 2007, the first veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, began to be documented in homeless shelters. By 2009 there were one hundred fifty-four thousand homeless, with slightly less than half, having served in South Vietnam.

According to the VA in 2011, veterans made up 14% of homeless adult males, and 2% of homeless adult females.  

The overall count in 2012 showed 62,619 homeless veterans in the United States of America. The largest population of homeless veterans live in Los Angeles County.

In 2015, in a report issued by HUD, counted over forty-seven thousand homeless veterans nationwide, the majority of whom were White and male.

This is the first of several blogs focusing on homeless veterans. In my next blog, I will focus on transitioning out of the military and how it can be a contributing factor to homelessness.


Retired United States Air Force, 1961 - 1981. VA Volunteer, Interviewer for the Veterans History Project/Library of Congress. President, Patient Family Advisory Board, Detroit VAMC, Social Media Director, Fans of America Foundation, and Lead Volunteer Military Outreach USA.
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