The Veterans Law Project serves veterans throughout New Hampshire finding a particular unmet need in rural areas.   Deployed January of 2015, the Veterans Law Project Legal Boots on the Ground has served over 260 veterans so far this year by providing direct legal representation, office consultation and referral services.  Outreach to the north country is limited where we have been able to serve twenty veterans from Coos, Grafton and Carroll counties.  Fewer than a dozen attorneys serve Coos County, making outreach to northern New Hampshire a priority where:

  • Over over 15%  of Coos County residents are veterans, similarly, Carroll county has about 14% veteran population.  This figure is almost double the national 7.3 percent of all living Americans who have served in the military at some point in their lives.
    • Coos County is home to approximately 4000 New Hampshire veterans.   This figure does not include the over 9%  estimated federal and state prison populations reporting veteran status.  Over 71% are estimated to  have served in at least one war.  
      • About 27.4 % are between ages 35-54
      • About 25.1 % are between ages 55-64
      • About 21.3 % are between were 75 years or older

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Survey of Inmates in local jails (2002) data indicates that 9.3% of people incarcerated in jails are Veterans. “The controlling offense for 70% of these Veterans was a non-violent crime, and 45% had served two or more state prison sentences. At minimum, 90,000 of the 9 million unique inmates annually released from U.S. jails are Veterans. A large majority, 82% are eligible for VA services, having been discharged either under honorable (65%) or general with honorable (17%) conditions. BJS reported in 2006 that 60% of all U.S. jail inmates had a mental health problem. As of 2005, only one in six jail inmates with a mental health diagnosis had received mental health treatment since incarceration.

  • Mental health is a strong indicator of homelessness, unemployment, domestic unrest and criminal behavior.   
      • About 1 in 5 veterans experience PTSD.  
      • About 20% of returning OIF and OEF  veterans turn to heavy drinking or drugs.  An estimated 20% of veterans have TBI.   Possible consequences of this internal injury include anger, suicidal thoughts, and changes in personality.  
  • About 3.6-6.5% veterans will face or have faced divorce.  This number is expected to increase upon separation of service, when troops return home and is as high as 8% among women.
  • Approximately 260 Coos County veterans may be unemployed, a precursor to homelessness, whereas veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless.
    • Veterans represent 11% of the adult civilian population, but 26% of the homeless population, according to the Homeless Research Institute (2007).  
    • The number of homeless Vietnam-era veterans, male and female, is greater than the number of soldiers who died during the war.
    • Only about 32% of homeless veterans have VA benefits.
    • Approximately 4.4 percent of veterans report poverty status

    In 2010, an average of 22 veterans committed suicide every day.   The group with the highest number of suicides was men ages 50 to 59.  The estimated annual suicide rate is 29.5 per 100,000 veterans withv one veteran lost every 65 minutes.  Military records are often not kept after retirement, meaning data may not represent the total number of veteran suicides.  

     

    NH Bar Association Membership Directory 2015
    www.nhes.nh.gov/elmi/products/documents/vet-fact-sheet.pdf
    Sociology of the Military Veteran’s and the Criminal Justice System
    http://www2.nami.org/template.cfm?section=mental_illnesses1
    www.military.com/daily-news/2015/02/25/military-divorce-rate-hits-lowest-level-in-10-years.html
    www2.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Public_Policy/Policy_Reports/ParityforPatriots.pdf
    www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-veteran-suicide-20150115-story.html
    https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-mental-health-our-troops