Five facts on veteran homelessness
Well, my first novella RANGER, number 4.5 in the Alex Morgan Intrepid series is well and truly out, and it's cranking through the charts on Amazon, iTunes and the like.
It's a thrill to see the story being so well received by reviewers too.
Close beneath the surface of this story is a serious issue, one of homelessness in our returned veterans.
I'm watching our governments pat our soldiers on the back as they deploy to Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, only to turn their backs on the wounded warriors as they return from service, many not able to function in society as they have before.
It's important to understand this is a growing and serious social, human issue, one we can not ignore.
1. A million plus Vets are risk of dropping off the grid
Nearly 1.5 Million Veterans are estimated to be at risk of going hungry and homeless - this statistic is across America alone.
2. 130,000 Vets are on the street each night
More than 130,000 US Veterans are hungry and homeless on any given night.
3. Vets between 18-30 are at risk
Veterans between the ages of 18 and 30 are twice as likely as adults in the general population to be homeless, and the risk of homelessness increases significantly among young veterans who are poor.
4. Mental illness and substance abuse is prevalent
Half suffer from mental illness, two thirds struggle with substance abuse problems, and many are struggling with both mental illness and a substance abuse problem.
5. Vets need social connection
Social networks are very important to those who are at-risk of becoming homeless, and the greatest risk factors for homelessness are lack of support and social isolation after discharge.
If there's one thing we need it is awareness and integrated strategies to ensure that veteran homelessness is taken seriously in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia where the numbers may be less, but they are growing.
If you know someone who has returned from service... be like Alex Morgan and keep an eye out for them. Talk to them and listen to them. Sometimes we all need a friend, before it's too late.
I'm lucky to be able to help in this small way and to shine a light on this important issue. I invite you to also support veterans charities in your area.
And to all our veterans - thank you for your service.