Robert A. McDonald, Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary today announced a concentrated 30-day effort by VA staff and partners to house as many homeless Veterans in their communities as possible. To accomplish this, Secretary McDonald charged VA’s network of federal, local and nongovernmental partners to target available housing and supportive services to the nation’s most vulnerable Veterans.
Secretary McDonald made the announcement from Los Angeles, the city with the most homeless Veterans last year, during a forum with community leaders. Since 2010, ongoing efforts to assist Veterans who lack stable housing have resulted in a 47-percent reduction in homelessness among Veterans. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, Veteran homelessness decreased by 17 percent – four times the previous year’s decline. While these statistics indicate that the efforts of VA and its partners are producing successful outcomes for many Veterans, more must be done to accelerate progress.
“We have made significant progress in dramatically reducing homelessness among Veterans in recent years, but we know there is more to be done,” Secretary McDonald said. “For the next 30-days – during a time of year when temperatures in many parts of the country can become dangerously cold – I challenge VA and all of our partners to strategically target available resources to help our nation’s homeless Veterans. Together, we can find where the needs are greatest among Veterans in each community and ensure that every Veteran has access to safe, permanent housing.”
The 30-day surge comes from a best practice Secretary McDonald observed in Tampa, Florida, where local housing officials hosted a one-day event to find homes for as many homeless Veterans as they could. Tampa officials called this Operation Reveille, referencing the French term for a bugle call to action. VA officials have adopted the term.
Operation Reveille builds on the all-in, surge concept VA uses during its homeless stand downs, which provide homeless Veterans with a one-stop shop for medical care, support services and needed clothing and toiletries. For a list of when VA medical centers are holding stand downs, click here.
From prioritizing unsheltered Veterans for immediate placement into safe housing, to organizing homeless stand downs and rapid rehousing events in their communities, there are many actions VA staff and partners can take to help Veterans quickly exit homelessness.
For more information on how to help Veterans in your community find permanent housing over the next 30-days, please download this one page overview of the 30-day surge and contact your local VA medical center to find out about specific needs of homeless Veterans in your community.
To learn more about VA programs and services that support homeless and at-risk Veterans, visit www.va.gov/homeless. A fact sheet on VA’s work to end Veteran homelessness is available here. A fact sheet on VA’s work to end Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles is here.