BOZEMAN — Veterans Day is a day filled with celebrations as we honored our nation's veterans. but as the events come to an end it's important that we don’t forget the daily hardships some veterans face.
“I feel like there's a lot of veterans out there that just kind of feel very isolated and lost in the shuffle,” says Air Force Veteran, Brianna Hope.
Hope served in the 90s when she was stationed in Germany. Serving her country had always been a dream
“Oddly enough, a Marine came to my door and, and asked me to come test and see if I wanted to join the Marines. And I thought I really don't want to join the Marines, but I wouldn't mind joining the Air Force,” says Hope.
But after nearly a decade of service transitioning back to civilian life is where Hope struggled.
“I liked the structure and everything. And you definitely don't have that in day-to-day civilian life,” says Hope.
Hope says things became so tough she eventually ended up homeless a couple of times. She isn't alone - according to the VA the population of homeless in Montana veterans has gone up 56 percent between 2021 and 2023 and they expect that number to grow as housing costs continue to rise.
“I've been homeless repeatedly since I moved to Bozeman,” says Hope.
“It just happens, and you end up there through no fault of your own necessarily. You know, And anyway, you can form a certain amount of support systems through the other homeless people,” says Hope.
It's not just homelessness but addiction and suicide. According to the VA, suicide among veterans in the Treasure State is twice the national average.
“I have been really surprised just how many veterans that are homeless and the number of veterans that commit suicide, especially here on one in Montana,” says Hope.
Now with a job and a roof over her head, Hope says she's lucky.
“It's kind of strange to get used to having a more stable life again,” says Hope.
Hope says her advice is to celebrate and help veterans every day.
“I've always just been proud that I served my country. And so I just focus on that aspect too. But it does seem like on Veterans Day, it could be a good time for people to recognize that there's a lot of veterans out there that could use help,” says Hope.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide you can call the National Suicide Hotline at 988.
Below is a phone number and link to the Veterans Affairs Homeless Programs and the Number for the Montana program: