Alone at home: post-9/11 military veterans and American housing and homelessness policy by Kerry Anna Spitzer.
Author(s)Spitzer, Kerry Anna
Post-9/11 military veterans and American housing and homelessness policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Amy K. Glasmeier.
MetadataShow full item record
The social safety net available to veterans is far more robust than for civilians in the United States, however, veterans are still more likely to experience homelessness than their peers. As the number of veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continues to increase, it is essential that planners consider whether the housing and homelessness policies designed for past generations meet the needs of today's veterans. This is especially true as today's veterans are more likely to be women, are experiencing more deployments, and are frequently coming from communities and families with limited resources. Historically, policy-makers have provided veterans a range of social benefits, including federally subsidized housing. For example, many public housing projects were originally built for WWII veterans. In addition, since the passage of the Servicemen's Bill of Rights of 1944, veterans have had access to Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) home loans. In more recent decades, the VA has funded several programs for homeless and at-risk veterans. Using the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts as a case study, I explore the experiences of post-9/1 1 veterans and the role of housing during the transition from the military to civilian life. Based on data collected through interviews with veterans and service providers, original survey data, observation of meetings, and analysis of administrative data, I outline the ways in which housing choices and policies contribute to the isolation of veterans from civilians in higher education settings, transitional housing, and in community settings. I argue that current housing policies do not address the social and physical isolation that returning veterans experience and, in some instances, these policies increase the isolation experienced by veterans. In addition, to experiencing isolation from the civilian community, many veterans, especially women veterans, experience isolation from the veteran community. Engagement with veteran service organizations and employment in veteran services helps to reduce this isolation and provides a sense of purpose to both male and female veterans. Finally, I argue for a community lens when considering veteran readjustment, as the resources available to veterans is tied to both their geographic location and social networks.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Urban Policy and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 212-218).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.