According to the VA, 16.3% of homeless veterans die on the streets. A homeless veteran sitting on a bench.With approximately 35,574 veterans experiencing homelessness in 2022, that number could equate to as many as A homeless veteran sleeping on a park bench in the rain.5,600 veterans dying without awareness or acknowledgement. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, further compounding the lack of affordable housing, livable wages and accessible healthcare. A pair of boots and a helmet on the ground symbolize homeless veterans who die on the streets.It is estimated that 80% of homeless veterans suffer from mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A silhouette of a homeless veteran with a helmet on his head.

It’s more dangerous to be a veteran than a soldier.

“Approximately 15 homeless die while living on the streets each day and many are unclaimed by familial relations. A veteran walking on a sidewalk with a fire hydrant.They go in the ground with no honor, no love, no respect, no dignity or family,” emphasized Kate Monroe, CEO of VETCOMM. “Oftentimes it is the PTSD as a result of their service that drives the circumstances of homelessness for veterans. That’s what makes these statistics particularly unforgivable.”

VETCOMM is a leading provider of innovative veteran’s solutions. They are announcing a “Hero’s Farewell” initiative providing homeless vets who pass away while living on the streets the dignified, end-of-life honors they deserve. Starting in February with the City of San Diego, CA, VETCOMM will provide cremation and farewell ceremonies to homeless veterans lacking any family claims or connections.

The skyline of San Diego is seen from the top of a building, overshadowed by the plight of homeless veterans dying in the streets.

It is just the start

VETCOMM will coordinate with San Diego street teams, veteran groups, police and the local community members in obtaining referrals to ensure any unclaimed veteran who dies while experiencing homelessness gets the military acknowledgements he or she deserves. Where appropriate, VETCOMM will invite friends, family and the community to partake in funerals and life celebrations.

In creating this initiative, VETCOMM was inspired by the story of Charlie Connolly, a Vietnam vet who died quietly while living in the streets of Cape Cod. When the Island Veterans Outreach Center learned about Connelly’s passing, they provided a hero’s funeral where hundreds of local residents turned out.

A homeless veteran walking on a bridge under a stormy sky.

No soldier left behind.

It’s important that we do more as a community to ensure no veteran is left without the dignity owed to them, regardless of their circumstances. If you know of a recently deceased homeless veteran who should receive “Hero’s Farewell” support, please contact 760-388-9600.

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