A new national report announced by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) indicates that homelessness among veterans is down 24 percent since 2010 and 8 percent between January 2012 and January 2013.
Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, said, "While this trend is encouraging news, we know that there is more work to do. As President Obama said, we're not going to rest until every veteran who has fought for America has a home in America."
Echoing Shinseki's statement, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said, "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. 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. We simply can't balance our budget on the backs of those living on the margins."
The HUD report estimates there were 57,849 homeless veterans on a single night in January in the United States, indicating a decline of 8 percent since 2012 and 24 percent since 2010.
In its campaign to end veterans' homelessness by the end of 2015, VA is undertaking an unprecedented campaign to increase awareness of VA services for homeless veterans and veterans at risk of becoming homeless. It was noted in the HUD report that the decline in homelessness in veterans was twice as much as that of homeless people generally (4 percent) since 2012.
Earlier this year HUD and VA announced the award of nearly $70 million in housing grants from HUD for rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the 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.
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 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.
More information about VA's homeless programs is available at www.va.gov/homeless and details about the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program are online at www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp.