When the boys came back from WWII they were greeted with the GI Bill and a host of other programs designed for returning vets. Today, 300,000 of the estimated 1.2 million homeless in the United States are veterans, and someday over 100,000 troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan will come home. With the way things are shaping up, the future of our troops will more closely resemble the Vietnam vets rather than "the greatest generation."
In When I Came Home, Dan Lohaus turns his camera on several homeless Vietnam and Iraq veterans in New York City, and in the process he finds Herold Noel, a returning Iraq veteran with posttraumatic stress disorder. Noel and his family do not qualify for housing assistance because he has lost his Section 8 status, so Noel is forced to live in his car while his wife and child live only slightly better with his sister-in-law. Ironically, he points out, his wife could get housing if she was abused-begging the inappropriate question, should he start beating his wife to get his family some help? As he navigates unresponsive Army and city offices in search of help, his frustration mounts. Finally, Noel happens upon some people who teach him how to use the media to raise public awareness about himself and people like him. Through his newfound media sources, Noel is finally able to get his family the help they so desperately need. This empowering and unflinching documentary is a startling look at the men and women who return home after fighting our battles.