IMPACT

'The Jericho Project' Helps Homeless Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Get Their Bearings

12/30/2010 11:27 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Over 9,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are homeless, reports ABC.

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to eliminate that statistic within the next five years.

An increasing number of new veterans are finding themselves homeless, unable to adjust to civilian life. Reasons range from financial hardships to emotional distress due to the shock of war.

Vice Chief of the Army General Peter Chiarelli told ABC that rapid repeated deployments play a detrimental part in soldiers' mental health.

"We need more time at home before deployment. It affects everything. It affects the divorce rate. It affects substance abuse."

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They also report that there are currently more than 107,000 homeless vets total nationwide.

In November 2009, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki presented a comprehensive plan to end veteran homelessness. This year, the plan was finalized and released as Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs website, the policies within that plan will help end veteran homelessness by 2015.

Until then, nonprofit organizations around the country are stepping up to help out.

The Jericho Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding the homeless, started a program to specifically address this growing problem. The Veterans Initiative project is dedicated to providing shelter and assistance to vets.

Jose Pagan, a formerly homeless Iraq veteran, spoke to ABC about his new home. The Jericho Project helped him find safe lodging and a support group.

"I have an apartment, and it was the first time, especially as a grown man that I've gotten a gift like this. It was an amazing feeling. I have a place. This is what I call, it's my little home."

To support or learn more about the Jericho Project, follow the links below.

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