Accession Number:



Soldiers of Misfortune: Homeless Veterans, Risk Factors, and Prevention

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



War is not a modern phenomenon. Since the beginning of time, conflict between communities served to put societies in positions of advantage over others. As nations continue to seek this advantage, war will always be part of the human experience. Homelessness, like war, is also not a modern phenomenon. American homelessness has its roots in the colonial frontier and has persistently plagued society throughout the entirety of this nations existence. Both war and homelessness have produced intense suffering, not only to the losers but also to the victors. Together, they create an entity of a particular type of American homeless veterans. They are those who answered the call to do our nations bidding and, for a variety of reasons, have failed to adjust to civilian life. They are a tragic juxtaposition of two of societys worst ills. They are also a contradiction to the American ideal, resulting in painful historical evolution from the colonial idle poor to the post-Civil War tramps to todays homeless veteran. It begs the question, why is it that some disciplined and trained service members fail to adapt to civilian life once their obligation is over This study explores veteran homelessness through a historical lens in order to answer this question. Plagued with societal rejection for their perceived idleness and lethargy, the homeless became involved in a vicious cycle that became difficult to overcome. Moreover, identity plays a significant role in the evolution of both warriors and the homeless. While many organizations exist that seek to end homelessness, this study suggests an angle of attack against veteran homelessness while service members are still serving. Fostering an enduring identity for their service, maintaining a connection to service members, and developing deeper financial literacy can ease their transition to military life and help prevent them from experiencing the tragedy of homelessness.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]