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Homeless Veterans

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Homeless Veterans

The National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans Additional Information and Resources

The National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans

"President Obama and I are personally committed to ending homelessness among Veterans. Those who have served this nation as a Veteran should never find themselves on the street, living without care and without hope." –Secretary Shinseki

What We Know

According to the most recent Census data, approximately 10% of adults in the United States are Veterans; yet, existing HUD point-in-time (PIT) surveys suggests that Veterans represent up to 15% of America’s homeless population. According to the 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, more than 135,000 adults who served in the armed forces were homeless in a shelter at some point between October 2007 and September 2008, the majority residing in emergency rather than transitional shelters. Despite the fact that the number of homeless Veterans is decreasing, the 2009 CHALENG Report estimates that one any given night, approximately 107,000 Veterans are homeless. This estimate represents a continuing reduction in the number of Veterans estimated to be homeless. Recent CHALENG estimates were 195,000 in 2006; 154,000 in 2007; and 131,000 in 2008. Reductions in Veteran homelessness are due in part to the effectiveness of VA programs. In the past decade, major VA initiatives on outreach, treatment, residential services and vocational rehabilitation have touched the lives of tens of thousands of Veterans. In FY 2009, 92,625 homeless Veterans were served by a VA specialized treatment program for the homeless. This is an increase of 15 percent from FY 2008 (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2010).

VA has expanded its ability to bring the most vulnerable homeless Veterans off the streets through an expansion of the HCHV contract residential care program. In FY 2009, 2,252 homeless Veterans were placed in such contract housing – an increase of 21 percent from FY 2008 (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2010). Substantial increases are planned for this program in FY 2010.

The GPD program, begun in the mid-1990s, has over 11,500 operational beds today. In the past year alone, 20,939 Veterans were provided residential treatment in a GPD residence, homeless domiciliary, or contract residential treatment program (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2010). These programs have demonstrated remarkable success at placing and keeping Veterans in community housing. A recent study of VA discharges determined that 79 percent of those leaving GPD facilities and homeless domiciliary programs were housed one year after discharge (McGuire, 2007).

The recent expansion of (HUD-VASH) resulted in the placement of almost 7,000 homeless Veterans in permanent housing during FY 2009. With anticipated expansion, there will be over 30,000 Section Eight vouchers available to homeless Veterans through the HUD-VASH program.

While the estimates of homeless Veterans vary widely from one study to the next, the findings consistently describe a situation that is unacceptable, one that requires further inquiry to end homelessness among Veterans. Although as indicated large numbers of Veterans leave homelessness, the VA estimates that in the past year 29,000 new homeless Veterans sought specialized homeless services from the VA for the first time (NEPEC, 2010). This figure does not include the many thousands of “new” homeless Veterans who are not seen within VA specialized homeless services.

What We Need to Know

To address the root causes of this problem, we need to know more about the prevalence of homelessness among Veterans, what services homeless Veterans utilize, what programs most effectively serve them, and how to identify those Veterans who are at-risk of homelessness and then how to successfully intervene to improve their housing stability

Through a series of studies, the Center will produce a more accurate and reliable estimate of Veteran homelessness, investigate the demographic make-up of this population, and determine where they reside. In addition, our research will uncover the factors that predict homelessness among Veterans, develop and implement evidence-based interventions, formulate policy recommendations, and disseminate findings and training opportunities.

The following are links to documents that provide additional information and resources relevant to homeless Veterans and programs that assist them:

Homeless Resources

Preparing for your 2013 Housing Inventory and Point-in-Time Counts

Veteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress 

Prevalence and Risk of Homelessness among U.S. Veterans: A Multisite Investigation 

 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) 

 Data on Homeless Veterans

 Northeast Program Evaluation Center (NEPEC) 

 GTO Manual: Getting To Outcomes® in Services for Homeless Veterans 

This manual represents an effort to help those working with Veterans use an evidence-based approach to how they set goals, consider and plan homeless programs, develop and conduct process and outcome evaluations of programs, and learn how to improve and sustain programs that reach outcomes. All of us working to serve homeless Veterans want to know: Are we making a difference? Do Veterans who receive our services achieve greater levels of self-sufficiency and independence? This question takes on added significance with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plan to end homelessness among Veteran in five years. Progress towards this ambitious goal will only be successful if programs at the local level are implemented with quality, and outcomes for Veterans are monitored.

National Veteran Poverty Map - by State 


 The MISSION - VET Consumer Workbook for Veterans 
 The MISSION - VET Treatment Manual for Providers 


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