U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Homeless Veterans Outreach
By Sloan D. Gibson, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
VA's collaborations with organizations like the National Apartment Association (NAA) are essential to achieving our shared national goal of ending homelessness among Veterans.
In a recent speech to NAA's board, I was pleased to highlight all that these strong, productive partnerships have accomplished so far and discuss ways that NAA members can continue to help us reach the day when homelessness among Veterans is rare, brief and nonrecurring.
In addition to the support of our government, nonprofit and corporate allies, evidence-based strategies like Housing First and programs such as Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) are helping thousands of Veterans get and stay housed. Last year, 60,000 Veterans were saved from eviction by SSVF and 63,000 Veterans are housed right now under HUD-VASH.
Here are just some data points that highlight our progress to date:
- Since 2010, overall Veteran homelessness is down by 36 percent nationally.
- To date, 23 communities and two states have put systems in place to house every Veteran identified as in need and many more jurisdictions will soon follow suit.
- In 2015, VA's specialized homeless programs served roughly 365,000 homeless or at-risk Veterans.
Although these are promising developments, we know the need is still great.
Right now, more than 6,500 Veterans with HUD-VASH vouchers in hand can't find local housing options. This is the case in San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Detroit and many other communities across the country.
And so we always need more housing partners willing to offer Veterans stable housing options. This can be a win-win: property owners get reduced vacancies, stable and dependable rental income and, in some cases, access to VA staff to resolve issues that may arise.
After I gave my early March remarks, many of you came up to ask me what else you could doas apartment owners, property managers, employers and concerned citizensto deepen your involvement in this important cause.
Working with your NAA team, we took a small step to make collaborating with VA easier: NAA now has its very own Ending Veteran Homelessness Resources page, where housing and owner/operator partners can find tools, posters, wallet cards and other helpful resources to raise awareness and enlist others in this vital mission.
We hope you use and share this information with your networks and colleagues. You can learn even more by visiting VA's ending Veteran homelessness website and our get involved page. You can also email questions to VA's homeless Veterans' outreach team.
On behalf of VA, thank you for all you're doing to house Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. We look forward to continuing our work together to reduceand, soon endhomelessness among Veterans.
Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless can call or visit their local VA Medical Center, where VA staff are ready to assist. Veterans and their families can also access VA services by calling 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).