According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), there was a nearly 50% decline in veteran homelessness since 2010.
The homelessness rate dropped by 16% alone from the previous January under a strategic partnership between various government agencies. The results were astounding, and we can expect to see more programs like this in the future.
Through HUD’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) estimate of America’s homeless population, communities across the country reported that fewer than 40,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness on a given night in January 2016. The January 2016 estimate found just over 13,000 unsheltered homeless veterans living on their streets, a 56 percent decrease since 2010. View local estimates of veteran homelessness.
This significant progress is a result of the partnership among HUD, VA, USICH, and other federal, state and local partners. These critical partnerships were sparked by the 2010 launch of Opening Doors, the first-ever strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. The initiative’s success among veterans can also be attributed to the effectiveness of the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. Since 2008, more than 85,000 vouchers have been awarded and more than 114,000 homeless veterans have been served through the HUD-VASH program.
“We have an absolute duty to ensure those who’ve worn our nation’s uniform have a place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “While we’ve made remarkable progress toward ending veteran homelessness, we still have work to do to make certain we answer the call of our veterans just as they answered the call of our nation.”
In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness with the goal of accelerating progress toward the ambitious national goal of ending veteran homelessness. More than 880 mayors, governors, and other local officials have joined the challenge and committed to ending veteran homelessness in their communities. To date, 27 communities and two states have effectively ended veteran homelessness, serving as models for others across the nation.
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. In FY 2015, these programs helped more than 157,000 people—including 99,000 veterans and 34,000 children—secure or remain in permanent housing. Since 2010, more than 360,000 veterans and their families have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused or prevented from becoming homeless through programs administered by HUD and VA.