Financial illiteracy could be a factor in veteran homelessness

Your Dayton car donation can put veterans on the track to independence

While past studies have shown that veterans are at high risk of homelessness due to factors such as military-related trauma, like post-traumatic stress disorder, new research shows that financial illiteracy could be a trigger for veteran homelessness as well.

An article in the American Journal of Public Health found that military members as a whole are less familiar with household budgets, more likely to be targets for predatory lenders and “may not have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for being financially independent and managing money.”

In addition, a Department of Veterans Affairs study cited in the journal found that about two-percent of all veterans who sought health care last year were at risk of losing their home or had experienced homelessness.

And although the VA’s goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015 may seem like a distant dream, addressing the deficit Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ face related to financial matters may be a step in the right direction.

According to a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina, veterans who admitted to having common financial problems, such as balancing a checkbook or exceeding their credit limit, were four times more likely to be homeless in the next year than those without such issues.

After analyzing a sample of more than 1,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war era veterans, researchers from UNC, the Durham VA Medical Center and Duke University found that in the past year 30-percent “had gone over their credit limit, bounced or forged a check, had been reported to a collection agency, or had fallen victim to a money scam.” The researchers concluded, after statistical review of the survey data, that money mismanagement, along with arrest history, mental health diagnosis and income, were associated with homelessness in the following year.

"Money mismanagement was reported by a substantial number of veterans and urgently needs to be addressed,” the report reads. “Financial education even on simple issues, such as how to create a budget, avoid financial scams, balance a checkbook … could readily and inexpensively be added into pre- and post-separation work with veterans.

We can work together to give homeless veterans a future.

In an effort to increase financial literacy among veterans, Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio partners with Community Choice Financial and US Bank to provide financial literacy classes to our veterans. These programs are critical to helping our nation’s heroes reach financial independence – and they need your help.

Your Dayton car donation can make a difference. Just by donating your automobile to Volunteers of America, whether it’s a car, truck, motorcycle, RV, tractor, boat or any of the above, you can help support our critical programs and services. Your clunker doesn’t even have to run. Don’t forget, we also offer free same-day towing and you can claim your donation on your IRS tax return. Don’t have the title? We can assist you with obtaining a duplicate.

Donating your car in Ohio couldn’t be easier. Just fill out our online vehicle donation form or call (800) 225-0732 to set up your pickup time.