Veterans Affairs staffers have found housing for more than 26,000 veterans at risk of homelessness through the first seven months of this year thanks to unprecedented outreach through community partners, department leaders announced Monday.
Combined with similar efforts last year, more than 67,000 veterans have received permanent housing since the start of 2022, part of an administration-wide effort to cut down on homelessness across America.
Still, federal researchers estimate as many as 33,000 veterans around the country lack safe, stable housing on any given night. Department officials are hopeful given their advances over the last year, that figure will decrease when updated studies are released later this fall.
VA leaders released their progress report on homelessness assistance Monday as they simultaneously announced nearly $1 billion in support grants for housing and assistance programs, money to be distributed to more than 700 community organizations.
“We won’t rest until every veteran has the safe, stable home that they deserve, because none of our nation’s heroes should be homeless in this country they fought to defend,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “These grants will allow VA, alongside our community partners, to help provide more housing and wraparound services to more homeless and at-risk veterans than ever before.”
The money is included in the department’s annual budget and includes both the VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families and Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem programs. Community groups have hailed those programs in the past as valuable to helping them provide direct support to individuals facing immediate short-term housing problems.
Jill Albanese, VA’s director of clinical operations, said of the roughly 26,000 veterans helped with permanent housing so far this year, 97% are still in those new homes. The others are being aided in the search for alternative housing.
“All of our efforts are built around the evidence-based, housing-first approach which prioritizes getting veterans into housing and then assists them with the wraparound services that they need, including health care and other support,” she said.
VA has set a goal of placing at least 38,000 veterans without stable shelter into permanent housing by the end of the year. Officials said Monday’s announcement shows they are ahead of that pace.
Veterans seeking help with homelessness or related financial problems can call 877-424-3838 for help or visit the department’s web site.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.