Diggers now represent almost one in 10 people sleeping rough and are at risk dying on Australian streets, it has been revealed.

Surveys of hundreds of Melbourne’s homeless found a significant increase in war veterans young and old who have served overseas, only to find themselves forgotten and lost at home, the Herald Sun reports.

“Everyone needs a roof over their head,” HomeGround Services chief executive Heather Holst said.

“You get your dignity stripped away.”

The Melbourne Street to Home survey, compiled under a vulnerability index identifying demographic and clinical factors linked to a “significant risk of dying”, places the number of veterans at the upper end of this category, at eight per cent.

However, Ms Holst said the number was closer to 10 per cent and is expected to rise with the return of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The more people know about this, the better,” she said.

Risk factors include a history of recent emergency department visits, a background of cold weather injuries and kidney or liver disease.

Mental illness, a relationship breakdown and substance abuse are also significant factors, according to RSL LifeCare.

Former commando turned RSL young veterans advisor Geoff Evans said parallels could be drawn with the treatment of Vietnam veterans and a greater commitment from authorities to address the issue is a must.

“The only reason that they’re in that situation is that they’ve served our nation. It’s not good enough,” he said.

“People have no idea this is going on. I guarantee you’ll have young veterans on the street, floors, in cars tonight.”

The most recent ABS Census of Housing and Population identified some 105,237 people (0.5 per cent of the population) as homeless in 2011.

Author: Chloe Ross, Approving editor: Emily McPherson
Source: Herald Sun

Via:  ninemsn 2015