Government Initiatives Have Cut Unsheltered Veteran Homelessness in Half Since 2010
Homelessness is one of the most critical concerns among U.S. veterans today. In 2010, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) launched the Opening Doors strategic plan to combat veteran homelessness.
Over the years, several other initiatives came about, utilizing partnerships between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and USICH.
A recent inter-department report revealed a 36-percent reduction in veterans experiencing homelessness and a 47-percent reduction in unsheltered veteran homelessness (i.e., not residing in shelters) since Opening Doors began six years ago.
Furthermore, the amount of homeless veterans is reducing rapidly, with a 17-percent decrease reported between January 2015 and January 2016.
While the plan did not reach its goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015, this is certainly a huge step in the right direction.
Several initiatives are making these improvements possible. The HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program gives veterans access to HUD residential assistance paired with VA case management. This program has provided more than 85,000 housing vouchers and housed more than 114,000 veterans since 2008.
Local initiatives are also paying off. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness encouraged more than 880 local government officials across the U.S. to implement new programs to end veteran homelessness in their communities. This initiative has brought an end to veteran homelessness in 27 communities and two states since 2014.
Disability is a Major Cause of Veteran Homelessness
Veterans with physical or mental disabilities are often unable to work and earn an income to support the cost of housing. If these conditions are service-connected, these vets qualify for disability benefits through the VA.
The Disability Help Group assists all veterans regardless of housing status with filing a claim for disability benefits. To schedule a free consultation with a disability advocate, call us at 800-800-2009 or fill out our contact form.