This weekend, and the days leading up to it, have been dedicated to our nation's veterans.
People across the country have been taking time to honor and appreciate the service--and sacrifice--of all men and women who have served in the U.S. military.
The latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show, out of a population of 326 million, 20 million veterans are living among us today. A 2015 Minnesota department of Veterans Affairs report shows 369,000 veterans living in the state.
Breaking that down in our region, of Saint Louis County's population of 200,000 roughly 16,000 are veterans. That's 15,000 men, and just over 1,000 women. In Carlton County, roughly 2,800 men and just under 200 women represent the 3,000 veterans in a population of 35,000 people. In Cook, Lake, and Koochiching Counties' combined population of nearly 29,000, nearly 2,700 are veterans.
When it comes to returning to civilian life, some veterans find themselves struggling with issues--from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to substance abuse, and more--that can act as barriers to aspects of their lives, like employment, and housing.
For example, there is an ongoing effort to end homelessness within our nation's veteran population. In a 2016 Point in Time Estimate by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Minnesota was home to 279 homeless veterans. That's actually down from 2015's number of 297 veterans. In Wisconsin, 415 veterans identified as homeless in 2016. That's also down from 2015's number of 534 veterans.
To put a better perspective on the issues veterans are facing, newly appointed Northern Regional Leader of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, Kevin Beichler, sits down with Dan Wolfe to share more about his mission at MACV, and the resources available to veterans in our region.