SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – The director of a homeless veterans’ shelter says the transition between home-life and the battlefield has improved since the Vietnam War era, but homelessness among veterans is still a problem.

Deanna Mackey, director of the Prince homeless veterans home in Mantino, says Illinois is doing a better job of keeping the newer generations of veterans off the street because the community helps them transition better.

One in every three homeless men is a veteran, and half of them served in Vietnam. More than three-quarters of homeless veterans have alcohol, drug and mental health problems. Mackey says those are big reasons they lose their homes.

“Some of those ills and problems the individual veterans have… they haven’t got over yet,” Mackey says.

Mackey says about 1,200 veterans are homeless in Illinois, and that doesn’t include those who are staying at their relatives’ and friends’ houses temporarily.

Erica Borggren, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, says mentally unstable veterans have trouble maintaining jobs, and unemployment leads to homelessness.

“For service members being able to transition back into family life, being able to find a job really matters,” Borggren says. “That’s a big part of what we do stateside.”

Only one-fourth of homeless veterans have used VA homeless services. Mackey says many veterans are reluctant to seek help because they view doing so as a weakness.

Copyright IRN

Comments (4)
  1. August says:

    The veteran’s Prince Home is a 12-Step religious cult PRISON! The veterans are disrespected hourly. VETERANS BEWARE!

    1. Todd Warden says:

      This is a response to the “VETERANS BEWARE” comment. The Prince Home is a program to help those of us veterans who have “fallen”. No such thing as religious cult or prison. There are, as in society, rules for the effect of social harmony. As for the disrespected hourly statement, I myself as not seen any transgression of disrespect. If you want respect then give respect. Simple but when I was a homeless person , we often feel stepped on.
      There is an 12 -Step part of the program in which those of us who feel the need turn around our lives- this is a chance too.

  2. Leon White says:

    My perspective on The Prince Home At Manteno differs from that of the August comment highlighting Veterans Beware. I prefer to amplify the fact that veterans should Be Aware of the Prince Home and the many services it provides. The benefits of residency here at Prince are limitless and I would say that the success ratio depends solely on the individual and not the program. As a current resident of the Prince Home for more than 11months and counting my experience here have been life altering and I’m well on my way regaining my independence and manageability.

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