Homelessness and money mismanagement in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans

Am J Public Health. 2013 Dec;103 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S248-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301335. Epub 2013 Oct 22.

Abstract

Objectives: We examined the empirical link between money mismanagement and subsequent homelessness among veterans.

Methods: We used a random sample of Iraq and Afghanistan War era veterans from the National Post-Deployment Adjustment Survey in 2009-2011.

Results: Veterans were randomly selected from a roster of all US military service members in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom who were separated from active duty or in the Reserves/National Guard. Veterans (n = 1090) from 50 states and all military branches completed 2 waves of data collection 1 year apart (79% retention rate). Thirty percent reported money mismanagement (e.g., bouncing or forging a check, going over one's credit limit, falling victim to a money scam in the past year). Multivariate analysis revealed money mismanagement (odds ratio [OR] = 4.09, 95% CI = 1.87, 8.94) was associated with homelessness in the next year, as were arrest history (OR = 2.65, 95% CI = 1.33, 5.29), mental health diagnosis (OR = 2.59, 95% CI = 1.26, 5.33), and income (OR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.13, 0.71).

Conclusions: Money mismanagement, reported by a substantial number of veterans, was related to a higher rate of subsequent homelessness. The findings have implications for policymakers and clinicians, suggesting that financial education programs offered by the US Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs may be targeted to effectively address veteran homelessness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Homeless Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Health*
  • Prisons / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*