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A Struggle for Some ND Veterans: Little Housing on the Prairie

PHOTO: Housing and health are among the biggest challenges for many folks across the state, but that's especially true among North Dakota's veterans. Photo credit: Karen Desuyo/Flickr.
PHOTO: Housing and health are among the biggest challenges for many folks across the state, but that's especially true among North Dakota's veterans. Photo credit: Karen Desuyo/Flickr.
November 10, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tuesday is Veterans Day, and while those who served will be honored at events across North Dakota, behind the scenes many returning veterans are still struggling with a myriad of issues.

Richard LeMay, director of litigation with Legal Services of North Dakota, says one big problem for former service members is finding a place to call home, which has become more difficult with the oil boom.

"Housing is a big thing for us in North Dakota right now,” he explains. “We're having lots of housing issues essentially stemming from the lack of affordable housing."

Legal Services of North Dakota offers help to low-income residents and senior citizens who need help with various civil legal issues, and LeMay says many veterans are among those that his organization serves.

LeMay says ensuring veterans are receiving the medical care they need is also vital, and that includes the veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

"So you have veterans who may now find that they're getting cancer or diabetes, find that they're developing certain health problems,” he says. “And it can often be traced back to their tour of duty in Vietnam where there was use of Agent Orange."

In all, North Dakota is home to more than 56,000 veterans.


John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND