The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Nov. 21 that a new national report shows a 24 percent reduction in homelessness among Veterans since 2010.
The report also showed an 8 percent reduction between January 2012 and January 2013. The decline keeps the Obama administration on track to meet the goal of ending Veterans’ homelessness in 2015.
“We are on the right track in the fight to end homelessness among Veterans. While this trend is encouraging news, we know that there is more work to do,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “As President Obama said, we’re not going to rest until every Veteran who has fought for America has a home in America. The results in the latest report are a credit to the effort given by our dedicated staff, and our federal, state, and community partners who are committed to ending Veterans’ homelessness.”
“We’re making real and significant progress to reduce homelessness in this country and now is not the time to retreat from doing what we know works,” said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “If we’re going to end homelessness as we know it, we need a continued bipartisan commitment from Congress to break the cycle trapping our most vulnerable citizens, especially our Veterans, between living in a shelter or a life on the streets. I understand these are tough budget times but these are proven strategies that are making a real difference. We simply can’t balance our budget on the backs of those living on the margins.”
The 2013 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, prepared by HUD, estimates there were 57,849 homeless Veterans on a single night in January in the United States, an 8 percent decline since 2012 and a 24 percent decline since 2010.
VA has made ending Veterans’ homelessness by the end of 2015 a top priority, undertaking an unprecedented campaign to dramatically increase awareness of VA services for homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of becoming homeless. While the number of homeless people in the United States dropped by 4 percent since 2012, according to the 2013 report, Veterans’ homelessness has shown a more robust decline. During a period of prolonged economic recovery, the Obama Administration has been able to reduce the number of homeless Veterans by 24 percent, breaking previous patterns of increased homelessness during difficult economies.
Earlier this year, HUD and VA also announced the award of nearly $70 million of HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing grants to further assist in addressing the issue of Veterans’ homelessness. The program combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. Since 2008, a total of 58,140 vouchers have been awarded and 43,371 formerly homeless Veterans are currently in homes of their own because of the joint HUD-VA program.
One of the tools VA uses in its systematic approach to prevent and end Veterans’ homelessness is the Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant program. In July, VA announced the award of nearly $300 million in grants to 319 community agencies to help approximately 120,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families.
More recently, VA has announced $8.8 million in grants for 164 projects to acquire vans for homeless providers and to rehabilitate housing, plus $4.9 million in grants for 25 community-based projects to enhance services for Veterans.
The grants promote housing stability among homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families. The grants can have an immediate impact, helping lift Veterans out of homelessness or providing aid in emergencies that put Veterans and their families at risk of homelessness.