Listen to “S1EP2: VA’s National Challenge to House 38,000 Homeless Veterans” on Spreaker.
In his confirmation hearings, VA Secretary Denis McDonough promised to “fight like hell for our Veterans.”
Upholding his pledge, McDonough established a nationwide goal to house 38,000 homeless Veterans during calendar year 2022.
Tune in to the second episode of VHA’s new podcast, Ending Veteran Homelessness, where Jill Albanese, director of Business Operations for the VHA Homeless Programs Office (HPO), joins host Shawn Liu, director of Communications for HPO, to outline how VA will achieve this goal, and what you can do to help.
A Jill of all trades and master of many
“I have seen and personally experienced how these kinds of programs can help someone. I strongly believe in what we’re doing,” Albanese says.
Albanese’s passion for ending homelessness began when she experienced housing instability at a young age. She is forever grateful for her best friend who showed her how to apply for a housing voucher.
“It was life-changing for me,” Albanese recalls.
Now Albanese works to ensure such life-changing resources reach Veterans who need them most. With over 14 years of service at VA, she is an invaluable member of the leadership team supporting local VA homeless programs in their mission to achieve the Secretary’s goal.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States was cut roughly in half between 2010 and 2020.
Yet, progress toward ending Veteran homelessness has stalled since 2016. Veteran homelessness declined by 47% between 2010 and 2016, but only by 6% between 2016 and 2020.
Since his first day in office, McDonough has reinvigorated efforts across VA to end Veteran homelessness. In February, he declared the impressive goal of housing 38,000 Veterans by December 31, 2022. The goal reflects an increase of 5% from the number of Veterans placed in permanent housing last year.
An ambitious yet achievable goal
Placing 38,000 Veterans into permanent housing is certainly an ambitious undertaking. Thanks to VA’s comprehensive programs and resources, it is also achievable.
Achieving the goal will require a collective effort by all VA homeless program providers, with particular focus on coordination among Grant and Per Diem (GPD), Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Contract Residential Services (CRS) and Low-demand Safe Haven (LDSH), Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), and Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH).
No matter a Veteran’s situation, VA can help. All Veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness are strongly encouraged to learn about the resources available through VA.
Ending Veteran homelessness: A mission for all Americans
In addition to the wide range of resources and support available through VA, all Americans must contribute to the mission of ending Veteran homelessness.
“If you know a Veteran who is homeless or at risk of homelessness, please help connect them to VA,” urges Albanese.
Albanese also highlighted the critical role landlords and employers have in ending Veteran homelessness. By renting to Veterans or hiring a Veteran, you can help provide a pathway to stability and security.
For those who have defended our Nation’s security, perhaps there is no better way to say, “thank you.”
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness are strongly encouraged to contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for assistance.
Learn more about the new goal to house 38,000 homeless Veterans: https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/38k_National_Housing_Challenge.asp.
Find your nearest VA: https://www.va.gov/find-locations.
Learn more about VA resources to help homeless Veterans: https://www.va.gov/homeless.
Learn the benefits of renting to Veterans: https://www.va.gov/homeless/docs/toolkit/DigitalHousingBody102715_508.pdf.