The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced as part of its Annual Homeless Assessment Report that veteran homelessness decreased 5.4 percent in 2018 relative to 2017, completing a decline in veteran homelessness of almost 50 percent since 2010. Estimates gathered by thousands of local communities across the country found that 37,878 veterans experienced homelessness in 2018, compared to 40,020 in 2017. Communities collectively reported a nearly 10 percent decline among homeless women veterans.
According to HUD, the decrease in veteran homelessness can largely be attributed to the effectiveness of the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which combines permanent HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Counties and other local public housing agencies can use the housing vouchers provided through the HUD-VASH program to provide homeless veterans with housing, while wraparound case management from the VA helps address the various factors that contribute to a veteran’s risk of homelessness.
4,000 veterans were able to find permanent housing using the HUD-VASH program in just the last year. As the federal government continues its long-term effort to work with federal, state and local partners, 64 local communities and three states have declared an effective end to veterans homelessness, meaning they have developed systems to ensure that any instances of veteran homelessness are “rare, brief and one-time.”
America’s counties support the goal of ending homelessness among veterans and military families, including using temporary assistance and shelter resources to assist with permanent housing placement. NACo applauds agency efforts to reduce veteran homelessness in partnership with states and local governments, and encourages both Congress and the administration to continue to increase the resources targeted to end homelessness among veterans through programs such as the HUD-VASH program, Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program, and the Grants and Per Diem program.