The Progress That Has Been Made
Significant progress has been made to prevent and end Veteran homelessness since 2010 when VA announced a comprehensive plan to end homelessness among Veterans community by community. This progress is a result of implementing and constantly refining evidence-based policies and procedures informed by best practices and research on the most effective strategies to help people exit homelessness and remain stably housed. These strategies integrate housing, health care, expedited benefits claims processing, employment assistance, education and apprenticeship programs, and many other types of support for Veterans.
See below to learn more about how this holistic approach has helped Veterans exit homelessness and remain stably housed in 2016.
- 123,000 Veterans and their family members were permanently housed or prevented from becoming homeless (FY 2016).
- There was a 17 percent decline in the estimated number of homeless Veterans nationwide between January 2015 and January 2016 (CY 2016).
- There were fewer than 40,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2016 per the most recent Point-In-Time (PIT) Count. This national snapshot also showed that on a single night in January, slightly more than 13,000 of the Veterans counted were unsheltered or on the street (CY 2016).
- 21 communities and the entire states of Delaware and Connecticut successfully ended Veteran homelessness through collaboration with VA and partners. Click here to view an up to date list of communities that have ended Veteran homelessness (CY 2016).
- More than 16,500 homeless Veterans exited the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program to permanent housing. The GPD program is VA’s largest transitional housing program – which provides temporary housing for working individuals experiencing homelessness – with over 13,800 beds nationwide (FY 2016).
- The average length-of-stay in GPD was 179 days, the lowest length-of-stay since FY 2009. This coming year, VA will be transforming the program by implementing a competitive, time-limited grant process so that VA and its community partners can serve Veterans even better (FY 2016).
- The Veterans Justice Outreach program provided services to over 50,800 justice-involved Veterans. In addition, VA’s Health Care for Reentry Veterans Services (HCRV) – a program tailored to meet the reentry needs of incarcerated Veterans – provided services to more than 16,400 Veterans in 890 U.S. state and federal prisons (FY 2016).
- Approximately 7,500 Veterans exited homeless residential programs with employment as a result of VA Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services. This represents a five percent increase over FY 2015 employment rates. In addition, the number of Veterans employed while housed and receiving HUD-VASH Case Management: exceeded the national benchmark by four percent (FY 2016).
- More than 78,000 housing vouchers were in use through HUD-VASH. The Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program provides housing vouchers to eligible Veterans, paired with case management and supportive services to sustain housing stability and recover from physical and mental challenges. During 2016, 23,144 formerly homeless Veterans leased up and attained housing with a HUD-VASH voucher (FY 2016).
- VA awarded approximately $300 million in grants to 275 nonprofit organizations through Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) to help thousands of very low-income Veteran families who are permanently housed or transitioning into permanent housing. SSVF grantees typically serve Veterans with incomes below 30 percent of the area median income. In 2016, nearly 85 percent of those discharged from SSVF obtained permanent housing (FY 2016).
- The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans received more than 128,000 total calls and aided over 38,000 Veterans or their families through “Homeless Chat” (FY 2016).
- Over the course of the year, VA staff and community partners hosted more than 350 Stand Downs across the country. Stand Downs are collaborative one- to three-day events that provide supplies and services to homeless Veterans. VA partners with the Department of Defense (DoD) to make a wide range of military surplus goods available to homeless Veterans attending these events. There are a range of services at these events which can include food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, dental services, legal services, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment (CY 2016).