Trump Administration announces decline in Veteran homelessness

Veteran homelessness in the U.S. continues to decline, according to a new national estimate announced today by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson.

HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report finds the total number of reported Veterans experiencing homelessness in 2018 decreased 5.4 percent since last year, falling to nearly half the number of homeless Veterans reported in 2010.

In announcing the latest annual estimate, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie and HUD Secretary Ben Carson noted that local communities are reporting reductions in the number of Veterans in their shelter systems and on their streets. View local estimates of Veteran homelessness at this link.

“The reduction in homelessness among Veterans announced today shows that the strategies we are using to help the most vulnerable Veterans become stably housed are working,” said VA Secretary Wilkie. “This is good news for all Veterans.”

“We owe it to our Veterans to make certain they have a place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Carson. “We’ve made great strides in our efforts to end Veteran homelessness, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure those who wore our nation’s uniform have access to stable housing.”

“In ‘Home, Together,’ the new federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, we redouble our commitment to ending homelessness among Veterans and among all Americans,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Working together at the federal, state and local level, we can and will continue to make progress until all Americans have a stable home from which they can pursue opportunity.”

Each year, thousands of local communities around the country conduct one-night “Point-in-Time” estimates of the number of persons experiencing homelessness — in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered locations. This year’s estimate finds 37,878 Veterans experienced homelessness in January 2018, compared with 40,020 reported in January 2017. HUD estimates among the total number of reported Veterans experiencing homelessness in 2018, 23,312 Veterans were found in sheltered settings, while volunteers counted 14,566 Veterans living in places not meant for human habitation.

HUD also reports a nearly 10 percent decline among female Veterans experiencing homelessness. In January 2018, local communities reported 3,219 homeless female Veterans compared with 3,571 one year earlier.

The decrease in Veteran homelessness can largely be attributed to the effectiveness of the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines permanent HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. HUD-VASH is complemented by a continuum of VA programs that use modern tools and technology to identify the most vulnerable Veterans and rapidly connect them to the appropriate interventions to become and remain stably housed.

Last year alone, more than 4,000 Veterans, many experiencing chronic forms of homelessness, found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the HUD-VASH program. An additional 50,000 Veterans found permanent housing and supportive services through VA’s continuum of homeless programs.

To date, 64 local communities and three states have declared an effective end to Veteran homelessness, creating systems to ensure that a Veteran’s homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time. For a map of the communities that have ended homelessness, go to this link.

HUD and VA have a wide range of programs that prevent and end homelessness among Veterans, including health care, housing solutions, job training and education. More information about VA’s homeless programs is available at VA.gov/homeless. More information about HUD’s program is available here. Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless should contact their local VA Medical Center and ask to speak to a homeless coordinator or call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).

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