This study explored differences between homeless male veterans in metropolitan and micropolitan cities in Nebraska on sociodemographic, housing, clinical, and psychosocial characteristics as well as health service use. A convenience sample of 151 homeless male veterans (112 metropolitan, 39 micropolitan) were recruited from Veterans Affairs facilities and area shelters in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, and Hastings in Nebraska. Research staff conducted structured interviews with homeless veterans. Results showed that compared to homeless veterans in metropolitans, those in micropolitans were more likely to be White, unmarried, living in transitional settings, and were far more transient but reported greater social support and housing satisfaction. Veterans in micropolitans also reported more medical problems, diagnoses of anxiety and personality disorders, and unexpectedly, were more likely to report using various health services and less travel time for services. Together, these findings suggest access to homeless and health services for veterans in micropolitan areas may be facilitated through Veterans Affairs facilities and community providers that work in close proximity to one another. Many homeless veterans in these areas are transient, making them a difficult population to study and serve. Innovative ways to provide outreach to homeless veterans in micropolitan and more rural areas are needed.
Keywords: Health services research; Homelessness; Rural health; Veterans.