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Homelessness, Suicide Rates Worsen For Oklahoma Veterans

Jamie Glisson / Focus: Black Oklahoma
A homeless camp in north Tulsa, Okla.

New data from two federal agencies show homelessness and suicide rates have both increased among Oklahoma veterans.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Point-In-Time and Housing Inventory Counts were conducted in January 2020. The surveys count the number of people experiencing homelessness, including veterans, families, youth and the chronically homeless.


Data from the reports show Oklahoma veterans experiencing homelessness increased by more than 16 percent from 2019 to 2020.



Credit U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Veterans in Oklahoma are also experiencing high rates of suicide. 


The latest data from Veterans Affairs shows Oklahoma’s veteran suicide rates are ‘significantly higher’ than that of both the national veteran and general population rates, which have both worsened in the past decade.


The data is age-adjusted to ensure that the differences in rates are not due to differences in the ages of the populations being compared.


The Oklahoma veteran suicide rate was 40.6 per 100,000, compared to 32 per 100,000 of veterans nationally. That rate was also significantly higher than Oklahoma's suicide rate of 25.6 per 100,000 or the natonal suicide rate of 18.4 per 100,000.


Firearms were also overwhelmingly the method used in Oklahoma veteran suicide deaths, with 74 percent compared to the national percentage of 51 percent.



Credit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The VA annual report does not yet include any data on if the coronavirus pandemic has affected veteran suicide rates.


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Kateleigh Mills was the Special Projects reporter for KOSU from 2019 to 2024.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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