Veteran homelessness declined 14.6% in 2019 compared to the year before, U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Joe DeFelice, Mid-Atlantic regional administrator, said in a press release Nov. 14. That means 84 more veterans now have roofs over their heads.
According to HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report, the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in the nation continues to decline.
“In Maryland, we’ve made great strides over the years in our efforts to end veteran homelessness, with the state estimate dropping 46.2% since 2010,” DeFelice said in the release. “We will continue to collaborate with our state, local and federal partners to make progress because one homeless veteran is one too many.”
Each year, thousands of local communities around the country conduct one-night “point-in-time” estimates of the number of persons experiencing homelessness — in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered locations. This year’s estimate finds 37,085 veterans experienced homelessness in January 2019, compared to 37,878 reported in January 2018. HUD estimates among the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2019, 22,740 veterans were found in sheltered settings while volunteers counted 14,345 veterans living in places not meant for human habitation.
These declines are the result of intense planning and targeted interventions, including the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Both agencies jointly administer the HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program, which combines permanent HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. The housing program is complemented by a continuum of VA programs that use modern tools and technology to identify the most vulnerable veterans and rapidly connect them to the appropriate interventions to become and remain stably housed. This year, more than 11,000 veterans — many experiencing chronic forms of homelessness — found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the program.
To date, 78 communities and three states (Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware) have declared an effective end to veteran homelessness, creating systems to ensure a veteran’s homelessness is rare, brief and one-time.
Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless should contact their local VA Medical Center and ask to speak to a homeless coordinator or call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET.