Veterans Produce - Frequently Asked Questions

  • • What Is Aquaponics?: Aquaponics is the synergistic relation of fish and plants growing together within a closed loop system. The fish waste provides nutrients to the plants which in turn is cleaned and converted into clean filtered water for the fish.
  • • How Does It Work?: Water is pumped up from the fish tank into the growbed. The water trickles down through the media, past the roots of the plants before draining back into the fish tank. The plants extract the water and nutrients they need to grow, cleaning the water for the fish. There are bacteria that live on the surface of the growbed media.
  • • What Is The Nitrogen Cycle?: Bacteria (called Nitrosomonas) converts ammonia wastes from the fish into nitrates that can be used by the plants. The conversion of ammonia into nitrates is referred to as “the nitrogen cycle”.
  • • What Is A Growbed?: A Growbed is filled with a media such as gravel or expanded clay pebbles are a common method of growing plants in an aquaponic system, but there are many different methods that can be used. In fact, any method of hydroponic growing can be adapted to aquaponics. Plants can be grown in floating foam rafts that sit on the water surface. Even China has developed bamboo rafts on which they grow vegetables floating on a fishpond.
  • • What Is Aquaculture?: Aquaculture is raising fish in water contained in man-made containers, including tanks, ponds, and net holding pens.• 
  • • What Is Hydroponics?: Hydroponics is raising plants using soil-less methods like aquaponics, in that it uses circulating water with chemical fertilizers or minerals added for the plant’s growth. No fish are involved, and so there is less water requirement. The noticeable difference is the absence of fish for the ammonia source.  
  • Amputation, scars and disfigurement are some of the physical injuries that people may get while they are in combat. These physical handicaps can make it even more difficult to get a job. They can also cause self-esteem issues. Depression and suicide rates are higher among people who have served in the military.
  • • How many homeless veterans are there?
  • Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. Only 7% of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly 13% of the homeless adult population are veterans.
  • According to HUD’s Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) 2021 - The pandemic also resulted in considerable changes to the capacity of homeless service providers. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, facility-based emergency shelters with congregate settings took measures to increase physical distancing by reducing the number of beds available for occupancy. In some cases, this reduced capacity was reported through the Housing Inventory Count (HIC), but in other communities it was not. Estimates of the number of people experiencing sheltered homelessness at a point in time in 2021 should be viewed with caution, as the number could be artificially depressed compared with non-pandemic times, reflecting reduced capacity in some communities or safety concerns regarding staying in shelters.
  • • Doesn't the Department of Veterans Affairs take care of homeless veterans?
  • Yes, they do. But the problem of homelessness among veterans is a big one. The VA served more than 92,000 homeless veterans in 2009. With an estimated 500,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 20% of those in need, leaving 400,000 veterans without supportive services.
  • • Who Are The Homeless Veterans
  • The vast majority of homeless veterans (96%) are single males from poor, disadvantaged communities. Homeless veterans have served in World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the military's anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America.
  • The number of homeless female veterans is on the rise: in 2006, there were 150 homeless female veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; in 2011, there were 1,700. That same year, 18% of homeless veterans assisted by the VA were women. Comparison studies conducted by HUD show that female veterans are two to three times more likely to be homeless than any other group in the US adult population.
  • Veterans between the ages of 18 and 30 are twice as likely as adults in the general population to be homeless, and the risk of homelessness increases significantly among young veterans who are poor.
  • Roughly 56% of all homeless veterans are African-American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8% and 15.4% of the U.S. population respectively.
  • About 53% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities, compared with 41%of homeless non-veteran individuals.
  • Half suffer from mental illness; two-thirds suffer from substance abuse problems; and many from dual diagnosis (which is defined as a person struggling with both mental illness and a substance abuse problem).
  • Homeless veterans tend to experience homelessness longer than their non-veteran peers: Veterans spend an average of nearly six years homeless, compared to four years reported among non-veterans.
  • • How many veterans are homeless?
  • While only 8% of Americans can claim veteran status, 17% of our homeless population is made up of veterans. In 2010, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) estimated that on any given night there were 76,000 homeless veterans sleeping on American streets.
  • • What is the primary cause of veteran homelessness?
  • Veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless than other Americans due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
  • About 1.5 million veterans are considered at-risk of homelessness. At risk is defined as being below the poverty level and paying more than 50% of household income on rent. It also includes households with a member who has a disability, a person living alone, and those who are not in the labor force.
  • Research shows that the greatest risk factors for homelessness are lack of support and social isolation after discharge. Veterans have low marriage rates and high divorce rates; and, currently, 1 in 5 veterans is living alone. Social networks are particularly important for those who have a crisis or need temporary help. Without this assistance, they are at high risk for homelessness.
  • Nearly half a million (467,877) veterans are severely rent burdened and paying more than 50% of their income for rent. More than half (55%) of veterans with severe housing cost burden fell below the poverty level and 43% receive food stamps.
  • Approximately 45% of the 1.6 million veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking disability compensation. The average wait to get a disability claim processed is now eight months. Payments range from $127/month for a 10% disability to $2,769 for a full disability.
  • • Doesn't the Department of Veterans Affairs take care of homeless veterans?
  • Yes, they do. But the problem of homelessness among veterans is a big one. The VA served more than 92,000 homeless veterans in 2009. With an estimated 500,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 20% of those in need, leaving 400,000 veterans without supportive services.
  • • Why is it so hard for veterans to find jobs?
  • Some employers might not consider military experience as work experience and would consider service as a gap in a resume. Employers may also worry that the veteran may struggle readjusting, impacting their job performance.
  • • What Is Aquaponics?: Aquaponics is the synergistic relation of fish and plants growing together within a closed loop system. The fish waste provides nutrients to the plants which in turn is cleaned and converted into clean filtered water for the fish.
  • • How Does It Work?: Water is pumped up from the fish tank into the growbed. The water trickles down through the media, past the roots of the plants before draining back into the fish tank. The plants extract the water and nutrients they need to grow, cleaning the water for the fish. There are bacteria that live on the surface of the growbed media.
  • • What Is The Nitrogen Cycle?: Bacteria (called Nitrosomonas) converts ammonia wastes from the fish into nitrates that can be used by the plants. The conversion of ammonia into nitrates is referred to as “the nitrogen cycle”.
  • • What Is A Growbed?: A Growbed is filled with a media such as gravel or expanded clay pebbles are a common method of growing plants in an aquaponic system, but there are many different methods that can be used. In fact, any method of hydroponic growing can be adapted to aquaponics. Plants can be grown in floating foam rafts that sit on the water surface. Even China has developed bamboo rafts on which they grow vegetables floating on a fishpond.
  • • What Is Aquaculture?: Aquaculture is raising fish in water contained in man-made containers, including tanks, ponds, and net holding pens.• 
  • • What Is Hydroponics?: Hydroponics is raising plants using soil-less methods like aquaponics, in that it uses circulating water with chemical fertilizers or minerals added for the plant’s growth. No fish are involved, and so there is less water requirement. The noticeable difference is the absence of fish for the ammonia source. 

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Lewisville, TX 75057 
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Weatherford, TX 76085
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“By this kind of hard work we must help the weak... It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Acts 20:35

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Veterans Produce is a veteran-owned 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to feed homeless veterans. Federal Tax ID #83-3755876. All donations are tax deductible.