Supporting America's Veterans: RAND Weekly Recap

blog

November 12, 2021

In this Veterans Day edition of the weekly recap, we discuss how to help veterans experiencing homelessness; better care for veterans with “invisible wounds”; data showing that veterans need more support when transitioning into civilian jobs; and a Q&A with two RAND researchers who have served.

Encampment of tents with American flags in Los Angeles, photo by Bethany/Adobe Stock

An encampment of tents with American flags in Los Angeles

Photo by Bethany/Adobe Stock

How to Help Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

A RAND report published yesterday reveals findings from a yearlong study that followed 26 veterans experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Even though all of the participants lived near a major VA service center, only three had permanent housing by the time the study ended.

What might explain this? Although housing was a priority for study participants, the available options often didn't align with veterans' preferences. “They wanted a safe and private place that respects their autonomy,” said lead author Sarah Hunter.

These findings suggest that the VA needs to invest more in outreach services that can help veterans find stable, permanent housing that meets their needs. Doing so could lead to improved mental health and better quality of life for many veterans.

Spencer Milo works on his balance during a physical therapy session at the Marcus Institute for Brain Health at the University of Colorado, photo courtesy of Spencer Milo

Spencer Milo works on his balance during a physical therapy session at the Marcus Institute for Brain Health at the University of Colorado

Photo courtesy of Spencer Milo

Better Care for Veterans with 'Invisible Wounds'

Millions of American service members came home from Iraq or Afghanistan with brain injuries, PTSD, and other invisible wounds of war. Some received excellent care; others received no care at all. In a recent study, RAND researchers examined programs that treat veterans who have these injuries, assessed what worked and what didn't, and proposed a new standard of care. This could help ensure that more wounded veterans have the best possible chance at recovery.

Military officer talks with young woman in recruitment office, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

Photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

Veterans Need More Support When Transitioning to Civilian Jobs

Veterans' earnings after leaving the military were frequently lower than their active-duty earnings. That's according to a new RAND study. The authors examined more than 1 million records of veterans' employment and earnings following separation from the military. The findings suggest that more support may be needed to help service members build marketable career skills and transition into the civilian workforce.

Jonathan Wong and Joslyn Fleming at RAND's Santa Monica headquarters in September 2021, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

Jonathan Wong and Joslyn Fleming at RAND's Santa Monica headquarters in September 2021

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

A Tradition of Service: Q&A with Two Veterans

Before they became RAND researchers, Jonathan Wong and Joslyn Fleming were U.S. Marines. In a new Q&A, they discuss their time in uniform, what inspired them to become Marines and—later—researchers, and how their military service guides the work they do at RAND. “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” said Fleming. “I still feel this overwhelming commitment to get it right for those Marines and other service members, to always remember whom these policies are going to impact.”

Listen to the Recap

Get Weekly Updates from RAND

If you enjoyed this weekly recap, consider subscribing to Policy Currents, our newsletter and podcast.