COLUMBIA, Mo. - Donald Meyer, 60, was struck by a vehicle Tuesday evening while crossing North Keene Street and Berrywood Drive in east Columbia. He later died of his injuries.
After receiving a tip from a viewer, ABC 17 confirmed with Meyer's family that he served in the Navy from 1973-76. He was a cook on the U.S.S. Enterprise and U.S.S. Pyro, as part of the West Pacific Cruise.
Meyer, his wife and his seven children had struggled with his addiction to alcohol and drug use, forcing him out of the home and subsequently into homelessness. Since his passing, the family has starting fundraising for a memorial. Click here to donate.
Among the homeless population, veterans are more prone to physical and mental health issues, according to a VA Data Report from 2011. The report says that among veterans who have been homeless for 2+ years, 76 percent had a substance abuse habit. 55 percent had a mental health condition, both of which are lower for non-veteran homeless people.
However, there has been a steady decrease in homelessness in Missouri, according to the University of Missouri - St. Louis Public Policy Research Center. A 2016 report said overall homelessness in Missouri went down by about 30 percent from 2012-2015.
The report said the number of veterans with permanent supportive housing has increased in that time as well, rising by over 80 percent. One of many possible factors to explain the increase, according to the report, are policies put in place by the Obama administration.
For the full VA report, click here.
For the full UMSL report, click here.
The family is currently raising funds for a memorial service. You can find a link to a donation page here.