Housing Affordability Struggles of Post-9/11 Veterans

Younger Post-9/11 Veterans 5% More Likely Than Similar Non-Vets to Have Housing Affordability Struggles

A report from Apartment List, The Housing Affordability Struggle of 21st Century Veterans, finds that post-9/11 veterans are more likely to struggle with housing affordability than veterans of previous generations.

These veterans are 5% more likely than non-veterans of their own age, race, and gender to be housing cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their incomes on their housing. Older veterans of previous generations, on the other hand, are less likely to have housing cost burdens than their civilian counterparts.

  • Compared to non-veterans, veterans generally have higher home ownership rates (76% vs. 62%) and lower housing cost burdens (24% vs. 33%).
  • The story is different for post-9/11 veterans, however, as just 45% are homeowners and 35% are housing cost-burdened. Post-9/11 veterans’ ages partially explain their lower home ownership rate (younger adults are less likely to be homeowners), but their ages do not explain the higher housing cost burdens.

The 2008 housing market crash coincided with the return home of many veterans, leaving young veterans disproportionately affected by tight credit and a volatile market. The authors of the report call for more research to determine the root causes of the affordability challenges of post-9/11 veterans.

  • Over twenty million U.S. military veterans live in America, comprising just over 7% of the adult population.
  • While this share has been declining, new veterans are coming home each year. In 2016, the number of men and women serving in wars throughout the Middle East over the past twenty-five years finally surpassed the number of Vietnam veterans.
  • As these troops return home, they face unique challenges re-entering labor and housing markets. As these markets continue to evolve, are our policy efforts adequately supporting them?

The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.)

While all veteran households in need of affordable housing may not also need support services, HUD VASH can certainly assist a portion of the veteran population in need of affordable housing.

As time goes by, veterans are decreasing as a share of the population. Their benefits and experiences are becoming less commonplace and understood, even during prolonged periods of combat.

As young adults start to enlist that were not even born before the 9/11 attacks, this report recommends that we need to feel the urgency of finding 21st century solutions to the problems of 21st century veterans.

The Housing Affordability Struggle of 21st Century Veterans

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