The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says it housed more than 40,000 veterans last year, surpassing its 2022 goals aimed at reducing the number of veterans experiencing homelessness.
The 2022 goal was to place 38,000 veterans in public housing, and the VA said it actually housed 40,401 veterans last year.
“There are thousands of formerly homeless Veterans who are going to sleep tonight in good, safe, stable homes — and there’s nothing more important than that,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a Thursday statement.
While there is an extreme shortage of affordable housing in the U.S. that has helped create a homelessness crisis, veterans are much more likely to experience homelessness than the average American.
A multitude of factors contribute to putting veterans at an increased risk of homelessness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, a lack of family support networks and military jobs not easily transferable to civilian life and occupations.
The VA has worked aggressively to address the issue for years and has recently reported a decline in the veteran homeless population.
The latest point-in-time tally, which consists of a count of the sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on one night in January of each year, showed an 11 percent decline in veteran homelessness since 2020.
On a single night in January 2022, there were 33,136 veterans experiencing homelessness, down from 37,252 in 2020.
That also marks a decrease of roughly 55 percent in the unhoused veteran population since 2010, according to the VA.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under President Biden has focusied on a strategy that prioritizes placing people experiencing homelessness in housing first and then giving them a support structure to maintain their livelihoods.
Last year, the Biden administration released a strategic plan to reduce homelessness overall by 25 percent by 2025.
Source: The Hill