When Secretary Shinseki came to VA nearly three years ago, one of his top priorities was the eradication of Veteran homelessness by 2015. VA has focused both on those already homeless and on preventative services which help Vets and their families before they face losing a home. The Secretary said it best many times: Even one Veteran on the street is one too many.

Fortunately, progress has been made toward that ambitious goal. Thanks to the hard work of community partners at every level—federal, state and local—the homeless Veteran population declined 12 percent in 2011. From the Annual Homeless Assessment Report:

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. Since 2009, working with over 4,000 community agencies, VA and HUD have successfully housed a cumulative total of 33,597 Veterans in permanent, supportive housing with dedicated case managers and access to high-quality VA health care.

Of course, this is great news. But we’re not slowing down our efforts. VA also announced on Tuesday additional funding for  the Department’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). The program will make $100 million in grants available to community partners in an effort to prevent 42,000 Veterans and their families from falling into homelessness. Counseling, training, education assistance, direct time-limited financial assistance, transportation, child care, rent, utilities, and other services aimed at prevention—as well as getting Vets and their families back into homes–will remain a focus. Last year, 22,000 people were helped through the program.

The problem of Veteran homelessness wasn’t created in a year, and the solutions to end it won’t come together in a year, either. A complex issue with many contributing factors can only be solved with prudent and effective resources used at every level. We’ve got a ways to go to zero, but with the numbers released today, we know we’re on the way.

Learn more about VA’s efforts to end homelessness among Veterans.

Intel Report, December 10
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14 Comments

  1. RC December 22, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Peggy, if you have private insurance has any private doctor stated your husband has PTSD from the Vietnam War and submitted the stressors? If so, thats all you should need. When President Obama signed into law the NEW PTSD REGULATIONS, that should simplify the claims process for benfits to be awarded. If you have submitted all the private doctors testing and evidence including the stressors, and your still sitting in the first stages(as if nothing has been even looked at) i would say your next step would be to hire a private attorney , who has specialized with VA claims. Good luck and please dont give into the system.

  2. jazz December 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Nothing but lies…VA has PUT more vets on street because of EFFED UP VA ED POST 911 program than it ever helped.

    ..and TRUTH is, the VA refuses to FIX the problem, thinking that you will just PAY UP…1000s of vets affected. ASK anyone working at University of PHOENIX…will tell you same thing..and fault is NOT with UNIVERSITY. OH, BTW..look out for the 1st semester, THEY WILL DROP YOU if you are only on VA funding.

  3. Dave McGovern Jr. December 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    The HUD/VASH program was a lifesaver for me after having lived in under some of the worst circumstances in Waterbury, Ct. for over four years. The Veterans Administration may have taken a bit of patience on my part, but they came through for me in a big way many times over! My sincerest thanks go out to all those who work within the VA system. With special thanks to VA Rep. Peter Dimaria and his assistant in Waterbury, and also VA Rep. Nicole Campbell who works out of the West Haven VA offices.

    Dave M.

  4. Peggy December 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Letter to the Editor:
    In this time with all of our troops comings home, I think it poignant to remember the “Lost Veterans” of Vietnam. I have written to President Obama (3 times) The Secretary of the Cabinet in charge of Veteran’s Affairs The “HonorableEric Shienski” (4 times) to help myself and my disabled husband who has suffered the effects of Agent Orange, PTSD. PAD, and Coronary diseases due to his service in Vietnam. This has been going on for 5 years, yet the effects have been going on for over 30 years now. Enough is enough. The PTSD alone has practically ruined our marriage. Forms, after forms, appeals, after appeals, asking the most absurd questions one can imagine – “When do you think your stressor point was?” When the ammo dump was blown up during the TET offensive without warning and I was thrown from the jeep I was in by the very percussion of the blast. “When do you think you may have suffered hearing loss? Oh, I don’t know possibly at the same time. Can you prove you were there and do you have the names of witnesses. Are you kidding me? You ordered me there!
    It is an absolute disgrace the way that these “Forgotten Vets” have been and are continued to be treated. Prove that you were drafted ? Find witnesses 40 years later?
    I really believe our government is simply waiting for these guys to give up. I know my husband did for years. He just could not take the red tape anymore. We paid for insurance out of our own pockets just to avoid the red tape. How many trillions of dollars have been saved because these Vets either gave up or God forbid died before they were awarded the benefits they were entitled to? . Shame on this government for treating these Vets this way. President Obama now passed into law that medical records will be followed when someone signs up (not drafted) in the military so that correlations can be made. That is a great thing for this round of Vets. What about the ones that already served? Billions saved? Sorry we cut your lives short, sorry that we cut your marriages short, sorry your children will only be with their Dads for a shorter period of time. But we’ll fix it for the next round of Vets. How about fixing it for ALL the Vets?
    When the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Cabinet in charge of Veterans affairs’ can’t even bother to acknowledge your constant correspondence to them it is a total disgrace.
    God Forgive you
    Peggy Freeman

    • paul December 22, 2011 at 9:13 am

      Peggy, i could respond back with a mile long page but to make it short, i would hire a private attorney who specializes with veterancs claims. They are well aware of how the VA handles things. You also stated you had private insurance, if you have submitted all the doctors evidence with testings etc, thats all you should need for the claim to be awarded. The va doesnt need to run the same tests or exams your private doctor has already done. Its a waste of tax payers money , and one of the mail reason there is such a back long of claims. Way to much dupicate paper work going on and testing. Hope the road ahead brings you and your husband a brighter future. God Bless

      • paul December 22, 2011 at 9:16 am

        sorry for all the typos but i get alittle angry when i read all these terrible blogs people are commenting on. best of luck

  5. Joe December 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    The VA’s homeless program is a sham and I doubt the commenters above are “for real”. The reality is The current administration has increased the VA claims backlog by about double, with it now taking more than 4 years for a typical Veteran to get his claim through the VA since most claims require at least one appeal before any benefits are actually paid to the Veteran. With the backlog now more than one million Veterans, any attempt at reducing homelessness is doomed to failure. The obvious answer, rather than more government “programs” which benefit mostly well connected contractors, is to pay Veterans their deserved benefits timely.
    Did it ever occur to anyone there is virtually no homelessness among Veterans who are employed by the VA? Why is this? This is because the VA pays its employees in 2 weeks, while making the typical Veteran wait 4 years for his just compensation. Very few Veterans can wait 4 years on a paycheck without at least near homelessness. How many of you can do without a paycheck for 4 years and not lose their home? I know I can not wait that long. Until this backlog is seriously reduced, the VA anti homeless program is but a political sham with no real substance.

  6. jim December 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Hnger,If the remaining Vets area considered. Chronic case mgnt then a dedicated outreach plan may help to engage trust
    From our bivwac dedicated vets. In three visns we note three different definitions of the word,outreach. Homelessness reduction is not a 9 to give, five day aweek mission with chronic case-management . H.a.l.t. as the hunger anger lonely,tired matrix are keys to redeploying resilience outreach teams in the 23 target visns for 2012.

    Resilience has a essence, it is, robust, on either side of the line of content or disturbed. Truly a great analysis as my vet buddys remember when there where,250k homeless Veterans just 6 yrs ago.

  7. Douglas December 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    My name is Doug and I have been in the Hines VA Homeless program since the summer of 2010. Certainly Veterans are being helped but many are slipping through the cracks. The VA spends a lot of money on their PR program touting how much they are doing to help Homeless Vets. However in reality this is not true, first off 12% is a false number. They have a rule that if you are in the Homeless Program and they do not here from you within a certain time period you are automatically discharge from the program and therefore counted among those helped. When you enroll in the program you are given a packet with list of other agencies and homeless shelters. The unit provides a place to wash clothes and use a phone and computer. Now this is all helpfull but should be followed up with guidence. Information is provided but that’s as far as it goes. They never answer or return call’s and are usually in the field if you show up in person. Then of course you get dropped because they claim you have not contactedthem. It’s all a Dog and Pony show!!!! My advice is help yourself because you will get very little from your case manager!

  8. Marie A Brantley December 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    My name is Marie, and I had been homeless for about two years. I went to Haven for Hope
    and received help through the homeless program there. They provided assisted with
    shelter, food, and clothing and other programs to assit with the daily activities that we needed.
    The VA provide the HUD VASH program at Haven for Hope, which help alot of veterens to
    recieve updates on their beneifits. Their continuous support help not just me, but hundreds of other veterens as well. (San Antonio Texas)

  9. Derek Session December 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    My name is derek, and like so many others the HUD VASH program help me to find permanent housing, and there are no words to express the happiness I feel, But I want all the Vet;s out there to know, that there rae so many program out there for us now, So dont be afraid to go out there and ask for what you need, you may be surprise to find out the VA has been waiting for you!

  10. James Brier December 14, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I was homeless for 2 years with my wife and daughter, living in shelters and the “Y”. Then I found out about HUD-VASH. Since 1 July 2011, we got help into living in an apartment.
    The Lyons,NJ VAMC has been absolutely terrific. I needed brakes desperately last week and my caseworker got the funds for the repair. I can’t say enough good to describe the benefits out here for Veterans.

  11. Crystal Dunkin December 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I am so lucky! I’m in Boise, Idaho and have such a great VA Medical Center and Regional Office. I was one of the homeless vet population. Now, thanks to our HUD/VASH program, I am in permanent housing. I have a great medical team and case manager. If there is anything I can pass on to any vet, homeless or not, is “don’t give up”. Be assertive in getting what you deserve. You earned your benefits! Stay on top of your game and be determined to get it together…Good Luck to all of you!

  12. Fred McFarland December 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I am one of the 22,000 pulled off the streets and saved by VA homeless program. Mine was at the Bay Pines VAMC, And I can’t express the word’s correctly on what the staff there means to me. Since my leaving there a year ago I have my License back so I can drive, enrolled the VASH program to help with a solid place to live. And now I can focus on getting the rest of me healthy.

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