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We Have a Plan to Help Homeless Veterans
November 22, 2013
Back in 2010, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki, along with his federal partners, launched a plan to end homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. And believe it or not, we’re getting there. The most recently released numbers on veteran homelessness show that there has been a 24 percent decrease in veteran homelessness since then.
This kind of significant progress is due in large part to the federal investment from both Congress and the Administration in preventative measures, better connections to housing and employment, and increased involvement in the homelessness system at the local level.
In fiscal year (FY) 2013, homeless veteran programs within VA received $1.3 billion (as compared to $1.929 billion for homeless assistance programs within HUD). And VA has used these funds wisely, pouring resources into prevention and rapid re-housing programs like the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, and doubling down on serving chronically homeless veterans with the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program.
But we still have a long way to go. More than 57,000 veterans are still homeless. The end is within sight, and we're going to get there, but we need your help. In order to build on our progress, our elected officials and service providers need to see and hear the overwhelming support from Americans for programs that help homeless veterans and their families.
While the investments are likely to continue as long as the political will is there, we need to especially work to make sure that local VAs are integrating with local homeless assistance systems (Continuums of Care and beyond).
HUD programs still serve a significant number of veterans, and in order to make sure that the proper resources are targeted toward the right populations, local homeless assistance providers must work with their local VA medical centers and veteran service organizations.
If your local Continuum hasn’t yet established a relationship with the local VA, please encourage them to do so. We need to make sure that local VAs and VA-funded homeless assistance programs have the know-how and connections needed to get the job of ending homelessness among veterans done.
We know what it takes. We have a plan. By working together and maximizing coordination at all levels, we can ensure there’s never another homeless veteran by the end of 2015.