HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released the second annual supplement to the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), which details the extent of homelessness among veterans in the United States. According to this report, veterans are overrepresented in the homeless population and while, overall, veterans are more economically stable when compared to the general population, once they fall below the poverty line, their chances of becoming homeless increase dramatically. Individual veterans living in poverty are 2.1 times as likely as individual non-veterans living in poverty to be homeless.
Two national estimates of homeless veterans are used in this report. First, the Point-in-Time Estimates show that on a single night in January 2010, there were more than 76,000 homeless veterans in the U.S, 43% of whom were unsheltered (living on the streets, in cars, or in other places not meant for human habitation). This is a 1% increase from 2009. The 1-Year Estimates include the number of sheltered homeless veterans during a 1-year period. According to this report, from October 2009 through September 2010, close to 145,000 veterans spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or in transitional housing units. The overwhelming majority (98%) of these veterans were individuals living alone.
In general, the typical sheltered veteran is male (92%), white, non-Hispanic (52%), between the ages of 51 and 61 (41%) and disabled (51%). As this shows, homeless veterans are not very likely to be women. However, female veterans are 2.5 times as likely as female non-veterans to be homeless, in contrast to male veterans, who seem to be at a lower risk of homelessness than non-veteran males.
Every state has homeless veterans, but 50% of all homeless veterans in the country were in just four states (California, New York, Florida and Texas) on a single night in January 2010, while there are 29 states that each account for less than 1% of the nation’s homeless vets.
HUD and the VA point out that this report is being released shortly after President Obama’s decision to drawdown the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and that these data can serve as a baseline understanding of the characteristics of the current homeless veteran population. This information is critical to ensuring that efforts to prevent homelessness among veterans in the upcoming years are effective.
To read the full report, Veteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, go to http://www.hudhre.info/documents/2010AHARVeteransReports.pdf