SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) A new report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says although the number of homeless veterans decreased nationwide, the number in Utah increased in 2018.
For Dylan Davis, the numbers are all too familiar.
“I’ve been through using drugs, and being homeless multiple times, and losing family members because of drugs,” said Davis.
Davis is a Marine veteran and says ever since he got back from war, it’s been a struggle. He’s not the only one struggling, though. Numbers estimate about 38,000 veterans across the country are without stable housing on any given night.
In Utah, the number of homeless vets increased 8.6% in 2018, from 220 to 239.
Andrew Wilson, a veteran himself, believes those numbers are even higher.
“I think that there are a lot, hundreds, hundreds of people that are out there,” said Wilson.
But why is the number increasing? Some veterans groups say mental illness is a major factor.
“The mental illness for veterans, is PTSD and brain injury, and many of them may not realize they have it, but they all suffer with it. They have depression, they have nowhere to go,” said Randy Edwards with the Utah Veterans Council.
Wilson believes the solution to veteran homelessness lies within the community.
“I think that the solution out in the community is not in a particular program or therapy, it’s just in helping people to care, helping people to understand that it’s safe to care,” said Wilson.