Today, HUD and VA jointly released the second annual Veteran’s Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR), which assesses the nation’s homeless veteran population. HUD and VA use this information in their work to end veteran’s homelessness through the Obama Administration’s Federal Strategic Plan, Opening Doors. Opening Doors is an unprecedented federal strategy to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2015 and homelessness among children, families and youth by 2020.
Currently, an estimated one out of every six men and women in our nation’s homeless shelters are veterans, and veterans are 50 percent more likely to fall into homelessness compared to other Americans. This is unacceptable and we’re committed to fixing this problem. Nowhere is our obligation to our citizens, and to those who have defended our nation, more important, more visible, or more urgently necessary than in our commitment to end veteran homelessness.
The 2010 Vets AHAR found that since 2009 the number of homeless veterans at any given point in time has remained nearly steady at 76,329 veterans. Of that number, 57 percent (43,437) were “sheltered,” meaning they were living in an emergency shelter or in transitional housing; and 43 percent (32,892) were “unsheltered,” meaning they spent the night on the streets, abandoned building or encampments.
Since President Obama took office in 2009, veteran’s homelessness has decreased by 3 percent with 144,842 veterans being homeless for at least one night between October 2009 and September 2010 compared to 149,635 homeless vets during the previous year’s reporting period. The Obama Administration also was able to streamline the methodology for counting homeless vets that receive assistance from both the VA and HUD’s Continuum of Care homeless service providers. Now with a more accurate number, both agencies are able to properly allocate funding to various programs that serve homeless vets in order to end homelessness by 2015.
Secretaries Donovan and Shinseki are working to end homelessness among our nation’s vets through a joint HUD and VA program specifically targeted to homeless veterans, HUD-VASH.
To date, HUD is working to provide housing and supportive service for approximately 30,000 veterans who would otherwise be homeless were it not for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. Homelessness has also ended or been prevented for more than one million people through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program, which awarded $1.5 billion to states, cities and counties across the country to keep families and veterans in their homes or help them find other affordable housing after a sudden financial crisis.
When we set the goal to end veteran’s homelessness, we knew that while challenging, ending homelessness among veterans is an important obligation to the people who have defended our nation. Although in today’s tough economic climate additional challenges have presented themselves, we are confident that – working with Congress – we will be able to meet this goal in 2015.
Visit HUD’s website to read the 2010 Veterans Annual Homelessness Assessment Report Fact Sheet.