The threat of homelessness amongst veterans has become an increasingly growing issue. Through my extensive research I have found multiple reasons as to why this threat has occurred. Some examples of these are things such as the transition from military to civilian life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and poverty. I am going to apply the functionalist and conflict perspectives in explaining the problems of homelessness amongst veterans.
The first institution that fails veterans is the military. From the functionalist perspective the manifest function of the military is to train and structure a person into what is necessary to protect and serve their country. The latent functions of the military are to educate and to receive benefits such as health care and housing. Although these latent functions for the most part only apply to those currently enlisted. The dysfunctions of the military include abuse, corruption, lack of social support, and lack of training on how to function and survive when placed back into civilian life.
As a result of these functions conflicts are made such as competition, constraints, and power struggles. The manifest, latent, and dysfunctions relate to competition in that the military is always trying to excel to superiority at any cost. The fate of its soldiers is not a top priority. The constraints of these functions are ones set by the standards of the military. The good or the bad is not achieved unless the military allows for it. The manifest, latent, and dysfunctions relate to power struggles in that the militaries ultimate goal is to become as powerful as can be. This includes power over its soldiers. This power can limit the benefits that a soldier may receive and also the point to which a soldier is pushed.
The second institution that fails the veteran is family. From the functionalist perspective the manifest function of family is to provide a structure in which means of living are met. The latent function of family is love and a social support. The dysfunction of family is abuse and neglect which can lead to the lack of money through divorce or abandonment.
As a result of these functions conflicts are made such as constraints, coercion, and powers struggles. The constraints of the manifest, latent, and dysfunctions are created by the lack of money or the ability to find a job or even affordable housing. The coercion of these functions are fighting which can lead to divorce. The power struggles of these functions may be stress and pressure applied to the members of the family from other members.
The third institution that fails the veteran is the government. From the functionalist perspective the manifest function of the government is to provide stability and safety. The latent function of the government is a source of social support through programs for when there are dysfunctions in other institutions. The dysfunctions of the government are things such as popularity competition when electing government officials and profiting off of the poor.
As a result of these functions conflicts are made such as competition, constraints, and power struggles. The manifest, latent, and dysfunctions relate to competition based on that it is a constant competition between programs for which the government will fund. The programs that are unfortunate enough not to receive government funding may fail as a result. The constraints of these functions in government are the limitations that are placed on people due to many things such as social status. The coercion of these functions in government are theft and fighting which in some cases are done in order to survive.
Homelessness amongst veterans results from a complex set of circumstances due to the failure of these institutions which in turn force them to choose between even the basic needs that any human must have in order to survive. By using the functionalist and conflict perspectives I have demonstrated in what ways these institutions, military, family, and government, have failed veterans causing them to become homeless.