Approximately 131,230 veterans were homeless at a point in time in 2008, a new report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) finds. This means that for every 10,000 veterans, 58 are homeless, a rate that is more than double that of the general population.
The new data are from the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) Community Homeless Assessment, Local Education and Networking Group (CHALENG), and the report is an update to one released by NAEH in 2007 using previous CHALENG data.
The VA also reported that the number of veterans served by the VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans program increased by 9% between 2007 and 2008, a result of veterans returning from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The data also show an increased need for services for homeless female veterans.
Because of the growing number of veterans coming home from overseas conflicts and because of the new increase in homeless female veterans, NAEH recommends that new policies be enacted to better care for homeless veterans. The Obama Administration recently vowed to end homelessness among veterans in five years, which NAEH notes requires the adoption of a comprehensive approach. Specific policy solutions recommended in the report include creating a homeless prevention and rapid re-housing program within the VA; continuing to expand the HUD-VA Supportive Hosing program (HUD-VASH); ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing for veterans with low incomes; and enhancing and bringing to scale existing VA homelessness programs.
The report, Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans, including state-by-state analysis, is available at: http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/2572.