Veterans from the Korean Conflict to the First Gulf War typically found an enticing real estate market when they returned home. But recent research, backed by earlier public accounts, show that post 9/11 servicemen are facing a harder time even than the average house hunter in landing properties that aren't out of reach payments-wise.
California-based Apartment List this fall analyzed various generations of veterans and how they're managed compared with fellow home seekers.
"On average, veterans have higher home ownership rate — 76 percent to 62 percent — and lower housing cost burdens than non-veterans (at) 24 percent versus 33 percent. "But these averages mask a troubling trend," says Igor Popov, chief economist.
According to the information web site, post 9/11 veterans "have become the first and only generation of veterans to struggle with housing affordability," he says.
Apartment List notes the breakdown by tours of duty includes:
- Vietnam veterans are 10 percent more likely than comparable civilians to afford housing costs.
- First Gulf War veterans are 25 percent more likely to buy homes that are within reach financially.
- By contrast, post 9/11 veterans are 5 percent less likely to secure affordable houses.
"This trend is unique to young veterans in today’s housing markets, Popov says. "Clearly, the 20th century tactics being enacted are no longer viable when for solving the problems of 21st century veterans," he says.
As early as 2016, the Orange County Register in southern California reported on the difficulties that veterans from the Los Angeles area county face in finding homes. Orange County was called "one of the priciest housing markets in the nation," and developers were meeting service providers to fund ways to tackle the shortage of homes than veterans can finance.
"They’re told in the military, ‘You’re not going to have any problems finding a job. You have a good skill set,’” Carol Ferguson of the Orange County Community Foundation said at a symposium on veterans housing in Irvine. “They’re generally pretty surprised how hard it is finding a job with a civilian employer.”
Ferguson pointed to a 2015 study by the University of Southern California the area's community foundation that discover retired service members "are significantly under-prepared for civilian life" when it comes to finding jobs and housing.
The report also cited more problematical issues for war veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq than older vets. Among the findings are 61 percent of post-9/11 veterans in Orange County reported they had problems adjusting to civilian life compared with 30 percent of pre-9/11vets, 28 percent of the post-9/11 vets are unemployed, and 35 percent hadn’t secured permanent housing.
According to the National Veterans Foundation support group, housing assistance programs for veterans include The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program that combines Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Also, the Veteran's Administration provides grants to nonprofits and consumer cooperatives through the Supportive Services for Veterans Families program to assist very low-income veteran families "living in or transitioning to permanent housing."
Grantees provide eligible veteran families with such help as daily living services, personal financial planning services and housing counseling services. They also can offer specified term payments to landlords for instance if the money helps veteran families "stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis."
Each state has its own agency to run the SSVF program, the foundation says.