Veterans’ Homelessness Drops Amid Partnerships, Outreach
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2011 The U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development today announced that a new national report shows that homelessness among veterans has been reduced by nearly 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011.
The federal government has pledged to end veterans’ homelessness by 2015, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.
“This new report is good news for the tens of thousands of veterans we have helped find a home,” Shinseki said. “Our progress in the fight against homelessness has been significant, but our work is not complete until no veteran has to sleep on the street.”
According to the 2011 supplement to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report released today, 67,495 veterans were homeless in the United States on a single night in January 2011 -- a significant reduction from last year’s single-night count of 76,329. The complete 2011 Annual Homeless Assessment Report will be available in 2012.
Shinseki credited the decrease in veterans’ homelessness to strong leadership by President Barack Obama, “and hard work by countless community organizations and our federal, state, and local partners who are committed to helping veterans and their families get back on their feet.”
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan added, “We’re absolutely headed in the right direction, as we work to end homelessness amongst those who have served our nation.”
The decline in veterans’ homelessness, Donavan added, highlights government efforts “to target federal resources to produce a sharp and measureable reduction in veteran homelessness.
“As we put forth in the first federal plan to prevent and end homelessness,” he continued, “there’s plenty of work ahead to reach our goal, but these numbers validate the work done by both HUD and VA to reach our nation’s homeless veterans and get them into permanent housing.”
Since 2009, working with over 4,000 community agencies, VA and HUD have successfully placed 33,597 veterans in permanent housing, officials said, with dedicated case managers and access to VA health care.
VA also announced it will make $100 million in grants available to community agencies across the country to prevent nearly 42,000 veterans and their families from falling into homelessness, or to quickly return them to stable housing. The funds are offered for fiscal year 2012 through VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, a homeless-prevention and rapid re-housing program.
“The problems that lead to homelessness begin long before veterans and their families are on the streets,” Shinseki said. “By putting more resources into prevention services for those at risk of becoming homeless, we will continue to help more veterans and their families turn their lives around.”
Last year, VA provided $60 million through the SSVF program to community providers, which will affect nearly 22,000 people through 85 nonprofit community agencies in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The program provides community organizations with funding for counseling, training, education assistance, direct time-limited financial assistance, transportation, child care, rent, utilities, and other services aimed at preventing homelessness or providing homes for participating veterans and family members.
The available funds were announced in a message posted in the Federal Register and at VA’s website, www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp. Nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives interested in the grants have until Feb. 15 to submit their applications.
VA is sponsoring free workshops this month and next to review the grant application process. Community organizations interested in applying for funds under this program can use the website to find dates for workshops in Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, San Francisco, and St. Louis. Community organizations seeking more information on the SSVF program can also contact VA at 1-877-737-0111 or at SSVF@va.gov.