Veteran homelessness down 24 percent since 2010

November 21, 2013

Homelessness among that nation’s veterans has dropped 24 percent since 2010, representing a more dramatic decline than with homelessness overall, according to a new report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A military veteran listens to speeches during a Veterans Day observance at a shelter in Los Angeles. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).
A veteran listens to speeches during a Veterans Day observance at a shelter in Los Angeles. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The analysis, based off of HUD’s annual nationwide count of the homeless, said there were nearly 58,000 veterans without permanent living quarters on a single night in January, compared to 63,000 the previous year and about 76,000 in 2010.

Overall homelessness has declined at a more modest rate of 6 percent since 2010, according to the report. About 610,000 individuals were living without shelter last January, compared to 634,000 the previous year and 650,000 in 2010.

Administration officials touted the latest figures as proof of progress on President Obama’s vow to end veterans homelessness by 2015, although that goal would not be met under the current rate of decline.

“We are on track in the fight to end homelessness among veterans” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement. “While this trend is encouraging news, we know that there is more work to do.”

Last week, the VA announced a $14 million surge in funding for programs to assist homeless veterans. That round of funding added to $7.8 million that the VA and the HUD dedicated in August toward housing and clinical services for those individuals.

Earlier this year, the two agencies announced nearly $70 million in grants for rental assistance, case management and clinical services for homeless veterans. The VA said about 43,000 formerly homeless veterans are now in homes of their own because of the program.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan encouraged lawmakers in a statement Thursday to continue financing such programs.

“We’re making real and significant progress to reduce homelessness in this country, and now is not the time to retreat from doing what we know works,” Donovan said. “I understand these are tough budget times, but these are proven strategies that are making a real difference.”

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Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · November 21, 2013