U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson has announced that veteran homelessness in the U.S. continues to decline according to a new national estimate. HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report indicates the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2019 decreased 2.1 percent and 793 more veterans now have a roof over their heads.
“Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and now it’s our duty to make certain they have a home to call their own,” said Secretary Carson. “We’ve made great progress in our efforts to end veteran homelessness, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure our heroes have access to affordable housing.”
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 37,085 veterans experienced homelessness in January 2019, compared to 37,878 reported in January 2018. HUD estimates among the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2019, 22,740 veterans were found in sheltered settings while volunteers counted 14,345 veterans living in places not meant for human habitation.
These declines are the result of intense planning and targeted interventions, including the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Both agencies jointly administer 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. This year to date, more than 11,000 veterans, many experiencing chronic forms of homelessness, found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the HUD-VASH program.
To date, 78 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 a one-time encounter.