In honor of Veterans Day, TSAHC would like to bring attention to the serious issue of homelessness that plagues too many men and women who have served and defended this country.
Research shows that, due to poverty and lack of support and social isolation after discharge, veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless than other Americans. Recognizing the very real problem of veteran homelessness in America, the federal government has taken dramatic steps over the past few years to improve the support networks and services available for veterans.
In 2014, HUD, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the National League of Cities launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. So far, the challenge appears to be working. To date more than 880 mayors have joined the challenge, with 29 communities and two entire states accomplishing the goal of effectively ending veteran homelessness. In Texas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin have all announced that they have effectively ended veteran homelessness.
What does it mean to “effectively end veteran homelessness?” This definition includes several benchmarks focusing on ending chronic homelessness among veterans and ensuring that all veterans experiencing homelessness can access transitional housing and ultimately permanent housing in a timely manner. Click here to read the full criteria and benchmarks for ending veteran homelessness.
The Role of “Housing First” In Ending Veteran Homelessness
The switch to a “Housing First” model of ending homelessness can be largely attributed to the decline of veteran homelessness over the past few years. The National Alliance to End Homelessness defines “Housing First” as “an approach to ending homelessness that centers on providing people experiencing homelessness with housing as quickly as possible—and then providing services as needed.” Click here to read our previous post focusing on the “Housing First” model.
What makes “Housing First” so effective in ending veteran homelessness? An August 2016 Rooflines blog post published by the National Housing Institute argues that many veterans have specific experiences that lead them to require different services than other populations experiencing homelessness. By providing stable housing first, communities employing the “Housing First” model are then free to focus on services, such as employment training, life skills, and mental health services, that are so important to the long term success of veterans.
While the decline in veteran homelessness is encouraging, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), in January 2016 there were still an estimated 40,000 veterans living on the streets or in shelters. To tackle this ongoing program, the USICH has identified 10 effective strategies that have been proven successful in ending veteran homelessness. Calling upon state and local leaders to commit and coordinate efforts, the USICH believes that the goal to end veteran homelessness is now within our reach.
On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.