Remember when you, your spouse, partner, family member enlisted, and the military made promises? We’ve got your back. Imagine having no other option but to become homeless because you’ve arrived at your privatized military home, address promised, only to be told the home is no longer available. You and your family are now without your belongings, a safe and dry roof over your head, and are navigating daily to stay away from danger and determine a course of action.
At an alarming rate, more and more families are faced with impossible circumstances resulting in homelessness among our active-duty military. While experiencing homelessness, nearly 50% of all school-age children will experience depression and anxiety and nearly 20% of preschool children will experience emotional dysregulation that will prompt professional intervention. In addition to psychological effects, children who experience homelessness are susceptible to academic challenges, poor physical health outcomes (such as weight loss, malnutrition, chronic illness), and other disruptions to their routine care (www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty). Homelessness is considered an ACE, or adverse childhood experience. We know that the more ACEs a child experiences, the more likely they are to have poorer health outcomes as an adult- in addition to other social and emotional challenges (Kaiser Permanente, 1998). While children are inherently resilient, they are also susceptible to stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and sadness – all emotions that may come as a family becomes at risk for homelessness. Children thrive off of routines and consistency, neither of which comes easily when without one’s home. If you, a friend, neighbor, or loved one is active duty and at risk of homelessness due to lack of action from privatized military housing, please reach out to an AFHA advocate – the time to act is NOW. Readiness starts with a safe home.
For information how to cope with stress and learn more about the impact of ACEs, including how to prevent them:
Tips for Coping with Stress|Publications|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC