Homeless Veterans: Trying To Find Help and Hope

60 Minutes: Some Vets Returning From Iraq or Afghanistan Into The Recession Are Finding Themselves Homeless

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Worley hadn't imagined that leaving a war could be risky. "I got used to the structure and was havin' a hard time adaptin' to civilian life. Because if you change commands or you move from job to job in the Marine Corps, they give you a checklist," he explained.

"Life gets pretty simple," Pelley remarked.

"Yeah, it's pretty simple. It's, you know, they say turn right, you turn right as fast as you can without bumpin' the guy next to you. You know, I didn't have a checklist when I got out," he replied.

Without a checklist, Worley burned through the combat pay he had saved before he looked for a job. It turns out unemployment among young returning veterans is double the national rate, about 20 percent.

The VA tells "60 Minutes" that, already, there are more than 9,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets who've been homeless.

Asked what it's like living out there as a homeless man, Worley told Pelley, "As sad as it is to say, I've gotten good at being homeless. When you have two pairs of jeans, a pair of shorts and three shirts, and you don't have any money to wash 'em, after a while you start to smell. And you know you smell. And so you try, I just try to what try to avoid people."

"So you keep moving?" Pelley asked.

"Yes, sir," Worley replied.

It's a familiar story for Nachison, who, as a clinical psychologist, has been working with vets for almost 30 years.

"It's a new generation of homeless veterans," Pelley remarked.

"It is," Nachison agreed. "This group is becoming homeless quicker than the Vietnam veteran. Vietnam vets came back, it took about eight to ten years before we started really seeing them on the street homeless. This group is coming back and within a year they're ending up on the street. And my best hunch is that for many of them it's these redeployments again and again."

Over the last nine years, 800,000 troops have been "redeployed," sent back to combat at least once.

"Getting redeployed two, three, four, even five times, why does that make a difference?" Pelley asked Nachison.

"When you go back and you are re-traumatized it also brings up all the old stuff. Go back again, and it layers over the top of that. And so, now we're getting to the point where it's going to be difficult for the person to function," he replied.

Two million troops have already served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA believes there could be thousands more homeless in part because of the combat stress and brain injuries that roadside bombs inflict. Already, a quarter of a million troops have asked for mental health treatment.

"The troops that are gonna come back from Afghanistan and from Iraq, is this country prepared for that?" Pelley asked.

"I don't think so," Nachison said.