Ending Veterans homelessness: Here’s how you can help



Over the last five years, we have witnessed how critical partnerships and evidence-based strategies are to solving complex social problems like Veteran homelessness.

Thanks to our collective efforts with partner organizations and strategies informed by data, there has been a 47 percent reduction in Veteran homelessness across the United States since 2010. There has been a 17 percent decrease between 2015 and 2016 — four times the previous year’s decline.

These unprecedented accomplishments show that the policies we developed and implemented with guidance from community partners and experts in academia and VA’s National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans are working. Today, there is nearly universal agreement that communities across the United States can build the infrastructure — in partnership with VA and other organizations —to ensure that every Veteran who becomes homeless can be rapidly connected to stable housing.

In fact, three states — Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia — and more than 30 communities have done just that, effectively ending homelessness among Veterans by identifying homeless Veterans by name and putting them on the pathway to rapidly securing permanent housing. Each of those communities also has a system in place to help newly homeless and at-risk Veterans become or remain stably housed with assistance from VA, VA’s grantees or other organizations.

We’re not yet there in every community, though, so our job is not done. As a result, I recently charged all VA staff and partners to undertake a surge in each community to house as many homeless Veterans as possible over the next 30 days.  I encourage every VA employee, partner organization and community supporter to join us by redoubling your efforts to help Veterans exit homelessness immediately.

Whether you are a VA employee, local homeless service provider, VA grantee or public housing authority, we are calling on you to be part of the solution. Especially during this critically important time of year, when temperatures in many parts of the country can plunge to dangerous lows, you can help us accelerate our efforts to help Veterans in need secure permanent housing through these targeted strategies.

  • Increase permanent housing placements. We can increase the number of Veterans moving from the streets into permanent housing over the next 30 days by:
    • Fully utilizing all project-based housing units for Veterans, such as those available through Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers.
    • Increasing the rate of permanent housing placements from VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans contract residential services and Grant and Per Diem programs.
    • Maximizing the rate of rapid-rehousing in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.
  • Provide the right services at the right time. We can prioritize unsheltered Veterans for immediate placement into safe housing by:
    • Ensuring that those who enter community homeless response systems require that level of assistance.
    • Ensuring that Veterans are appropriately targeted for the HUD-VASH program.
    • Reserving VA’s homeless Veteran residential services for only those Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
  • Maximize VA resources. We can ensure staff and bed resources are available to help make the 30-day surge successful by:
    • Ensuring full utilization of homeless Veteran residential program beds by Veterans who need them.
    • Ramping up VA and volunteer staff to support the effort.
  • Engage with your community. Partnerships are critical to continued success. We can all:

While our achievements since 2010 have been significant, we cannot rest until every homeless Veteran has permanent housing. I believe strongly that our collective efforts can help accelerate the pace of progress towards our goal.

I encourage all VA staff and partners to support and participate in this important 30-day surge effort to help as many Veterans as possible exit homelessness.

Author

Bob McDonald

Comments

  1. Louis Kent DeVries    

    Good information, I an a new volunteer at the clinic in Colo. Springs and want to specifically help the homeless Vets. The clinic is trying to get a new director for Homeless/ HUD VASH. Any help from the top down to fill this slot would be great.

    1. MARY LOU TRYBA    

      again, try the local congressman’s office–speak with their vet rep—they all have one in their local offices; put the problems like this in the higher ups lap/ check if any American legion/vfw/amvet officesout your way. Good luck….

  2. Tirinia Smith    

    Yes this is a great program for the mail veterans the female veterans not so much the vets were having problems with their mortgages who are soon to become homeless not so much

  3. Susan Hewitt    

    How do I begin the search to help my brother find a place to live that he can afford?

    He is a Navy Veteran that was on the USS Eisenhower during the Iran hostage crisis and was out to sea in the Persian Gulf for a solid 8 months. During that time he was on the search and rescue squad in the water on several flight mishaps. Because we technically were not at war during that time, his VA benefits are really low with minimal assistance.

    He is completely disabled and lives on minimal SSI Disability. The only VA benefit he receives is medical.

    He currently lives either in his car or in a camper in state parks because he cannot afford an apartment. He was told at the Dallas VA that he has to prove he is homeless before they could help him. How do you prove that? Where do I begin to help him find assistance that can help him get his own place?

  4. Estanisladdo Quiñones    

    What you need to do is get a hold of a Veteran Service Officer in the County where he lives. He might even qualify for a Veterans pension for he did serve during the Persian Gulf during the Iran crisis.

    1. MARY LOU TRYBA    

      HI THERE–YES, IT CAN BE DAUNTING–CALL YOUR LOCAL CONGRESSMAN’S OFFICE—AS THEY ALL HAVE A VET REP IN EACH AND EVERY CONGRESSIOAL OFFICE–ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY–AND HAVE TO KNOW ALL THE CHAINS OF COMMAND IN THEIR TERRITORY/ THAT’S PART OF THEIR JOB FUNCTION; AND AS PER ABOVE–YES, THE VET REP SERVICE OFFICER AT DALLAS VA, IS A CONTACT AS WELL. F.Y.I.–ALSO ANY American LEGION//VFW/AMVET//VIETNAMVETERANS OFFICES/DEPTS. GOOD LUCK.

  5. Michael mccluskey    

    Hello, I recently tried to donate clothing to the va but what ever department I called wasn’t available for most of the month of December, any idea how I can donate clothing for vets in my area? Thanks for your time

    1. MARY LOU TRYBA    

      TRY THE LOCAL THRIFT SHOPS// or see if there’s any local senior center/ American legion/VFW offices. Volunteer centers/ or that kind of outfit.

  6. samuel toles    

    im living in a government studio apt I would like to get my own apartment can you help me.

  7. Virgil Bierschwale    

    My own experience with the VA can be viewed via the following articles:

    http://keepamericaatwork.com/category/veterans-homelessness/

  8. Andrew Taylor    

    I’m veteran I went to my HUD VASH trying to get help about a place to live but I keep turn down cause I live in a car. All I need help getting in apartment but cause I got felony it hard to get into a apartment I go to HUD VASH and I turn down if I was living in the wood and white I might get in a apartment or get help it don’t work for every veteran in some city.

    1. MARY LOU TRYBA    

      DEPENDING ON YOUR STATE; THERE ARE SENIOR TYPE-VETERAN HOMES TO HOUSE VETERANS. CHECK YOUR LOCAL VETERAN SERVICE / AMERICAN LEGION/ VFW –OFFICES. ALSO, THE LOCAL CONGRESSMAN’S OFFICE AS THEY ALL HAVE A VET REP IN THEIR OFFICES—FOR THE LOCAL CHAINS OF COMMANDS..

  9. Dan Nelson    

    Like everything else the VA does this article is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It would be interesting to know where they get their figures from. Having been homeless and gone to the VA for help, it’s like everything else they do. “Deny, Delay and let them Die”.

    1. Kathey suarez    

      You are so right. It’s a joke we became homeless due to lack of oversight on a va loan. Now they treat us like crap we cannot even get travel.pay. some social worker put down we are living out of our car which is wrong we are living in hotels. Va is just money suckered on tax payers with little oversight. But build parking lots and ad to the hospitals so they can pay pa’s

    2. MARY LOU TRYBA    

      To each his own.. Good luck..

  10. Nicholaus Carroll    

    How about we cease giving shelter to all the “poor” refugees infiltrating our shores from countries that despise us, send them back to countries with similar societies that should be taking them in and take care of our own for a change. You want action, then petition our so-called ” public servants” in this disaster of a government to do just that and divert funds stolen from tax paying citizens to do it for us, not the infiltrators. Does this make sense or am I just the paranoid vet people think I may be? They’ve contributed nothing to our society and we have protected it only to be abandoned and betrayed by the very bunch that uses us to do their bidding. Sorry, I’m just sick of seeing this kind of thing.

  11. Nancy Detwiler-Nordyke    

    How can we help our homeless vets??? Stop giving free housing and benefits to “undocumented workers” and asylum seekers. Use those funds for our veterans who served our country and came home to a community that doesn’t understand PTSD, or fell on hard times and lost everything.

  12. Michael Elston    

    In the recent cold spell in the Portland area
    I have reached out to one of the warming shelters
    And check with the people coming in to find Veterans
    This is in east county. It could be a good point of
    contact in all areas.

  13. Robert Rangel    

    can the VA help me, I have a VA loan on our first house but money is so tight we don’t have money for groceries every week?!

  14. David Davenport    

    I’d suggest a homeless website for homeless vets which would be interactive with the public

  15. Alex svidesskis    

    I need help. Ill be on st by summer!

  16. Joe Fargo    

    I’m soon to be a Disabled Veteran of Vietnam. I’m in a CWT Program to get a part-time job at the new VA Medical Hospital. One would think that things would move quickly with a New VA Hospital. This is not the case, not even close. I’m going to stay in this program as I need to Supplement my Social Security Disability money. The Government gave SSDI it’s 1st raise in 2 years for “Cost of Living Increases”. My raise came to $4 per month. This is an embarrassment to all American’s that served their Country and then worked 30 years for the Private Sector. I had a choice in taking my money from the VA or Social Security Disability. I had to choose Social Security Disability as the amount was $200 more per month than the VA.

    I can say that the VA has been very good to me with all of my medical needs whether it be just a routine visit or having my heart repaired. I can also say that I’m grateful for being recommended for the CWT Program that will train me for a job, part-time, that’s all I need to not become homeless, however it’s sounds great to write this on an email, it’s fast. Unfortunately the process is full of Red Tape and Hurry up and wait. I pray that I survive the slowness, red tape and becoming homeless.

    The only thing that I know I can do to possibility have this situation work is to get on my knees, raise my hands and pray fervently to God. He may have the VA move more quickly in my dilemma. All Glory be to God and only God.

  17. Cornell Christian    

    I am/was a homeless,disable vet, but I move in my new apartment next friday, thanks to the v.a. hud-vash staff in Nashville,Tn. You got to want it like you want to survive in warfare. If you give up you surrendered; if you hold on and fight on, you may not win the war, but you will win the battle. Take one hill at a time, you’ll eventually have the whole mountain. Stay in the fight, it’s your damn life.

  18. Anthony James Lewis    

    I’m a Social Worker, Licensed and Certified. For years I tried to get hired at the VAMC across the Nation. I had what I believed to be successful interviews. I used my estranged wife and my military vet cousin as reference both of whom worked at VAMC’. What happened I believe is they said or did things to inhibit my becoming employed. My wife even fraudulently removed me from her TSP by falsification. I believed we were on good terms. I raised our last child alone while living apart from my wife for 17 years. Additional issues relating to how VAMC Human Resources Personnel and how they comported themselves are in question. If you contact the Department of Justice FBI OIG HHS in South Florida Marimar formally North Beach they will I believe endorse my assertions. VAMC Personnel.I ha much to offer VAMC many of my critiques about the VAMC came to pass, in a system that guarded change as if it was privaized self interest. I share this things as a stake holder. One who invested years in mental health, substance abuse and marginal populations in Urban areas and willingness to work on Native American Reservations. The ones in question were unable to afford Masters Level Social Workers. Now I receive Government assistance. As a Cancer survivor I disabled I believed I would have received bonus points on my VAMC application, under Social Security’ right to work. None of your Human Resource People worked with me from that premise.
    Anthony James Lewis LMSW, LCSW, ICRC, CAAC, CCM- Michigan CCS-Michigan interviews by phone or in person Nationwide. xxx-xx-4379. L xxx-xxx-xxx-141 identifiers.

    Thank You

    1. Rachel Kurts    

      I was trying to reply & give my props to Cornell Christian (from the post on 06 JAN) that said he’s moving into a new apartment today!!! Nashville, TN~ =) Man, I salute you & wish you the best!! I am a sister, disabled vet myself! We are survivors!! Like you said, it’s your damned life! Now live, brother!

  19. Anita Clark    

    Definitely taking steps in the right direction to help all those who have been displaced and find themselves homeless. Permanent housing for ALL vets…I hope and pray that comes to fruition in the next decade!

  20. DAVID L. TAYLOR, SR.    

    ‪Great opportunities for ALL #Homeless #Veterans & #Civilian #CoOp‬
    ‪Great opportunities for ALL #Homeless #Veterans & #Civilian #CoOp. As a Non-Profit 501(c)3 organization.‬

  21. Shirley Hill    

    I have a 3 bedroom home in IL how can this home be use to serve Veterans. It is a rental property.

  22. J Michael Wells    

    Smoke and mirrors, deceit, Lies, and making people think that the V.A. is “doing everything “they can. More concerned about staying in the black with a surplus, cutting costs, thereby cutting care for VETS. Understaffing, underquality of care, under cutting edge treatments so the MANAGEMENT side will get their bonuses. Typical government bull!! I see it because I’m IN IT! It’s time for VETS to make a march on Washington to DEMAND change. VETERANS shouldn’t even struggle with homelessness when all these refugees are coming in and getting free housing, free monthly cash benefits, free healthcare. BOB MCDONALD will be fired and replaced by TRUMP. We’ll make sure of that!!

  23. Pasman    

    We all can help them even before they become homeless, there are so many Veterans that are currently facing Foreclosure, Joblessness and poverty. A proper information about VA resources at local level will greatly help reduce the statistics.

  24. David R Hoffman    

    For donations try The Vietnam Vets in your state, most have clothing pick ups. Dear Mr. Taylor you need to get a service officer, proper paper work & a better attitude. The black & white one that you have will get you no where!

  25. Tonya Boilard    

    I am currently working and long Ina transitional program for female veterans. It is not a place for me. The program is for female vets who have mental and substance abuse issues. They are also there for ptsd and sexual trauma. Of all the things previously mentioned I have none. I am just homeless. The exposure to this life has begun to take a toll on me. I have been in this program 6 mos. I should have been out in 30-90 days. Why am I still here? Because there are no programs for able body vets who just need housing. Civilians have resources why not vets? I am meeting with a VA social.worker to try for the hudvash voucher since it’s my 2nd time being homeless due to jobloss No retraining available, No education benefits and no housing that I for see if this hud vash voucher cannot be obtained. I am also the widow of a deceased vet. No money available there either. What am I to do? Become homeless for the 3rd time? I pray God blesses me again today with a voucher.

  26. Curtis Young    

    I am a vietnam era Navy Veteran who will be homeless on February 1st because I have lost my job in July last year due to the negativa impact from A Major Depression and Anxiety Disorder diagnosis. I recieved temporary housing in the smallest room I have ever seen from a vvsj community based program who utilizas VA money. Although I moved in in July 2016, and I was informed with a 2 week notice that I had to be out of that room by January 1st because the program has now ended its 9 month period of temporary assistance. After strongly arguing my point of how unfair and not appropriate for them to treat me this way with a two week notice to get out, and after the case manager’s last meeting with me in the first week of December when she stated nothing at all about moving out at the end of that month, instead she stated that after the holidays she And I would start looking for other options for housing. Then after arguing my point, they said “OK, We Will Pay The Rent For January But You Must Leave By February 1st, which does not add up to nine months.
    So for two weeks now, with two weeks left, i have been bounced from one office to another. I contacted many, many va services and programs for help. Some told me, “WE HAVE NO OPENINGS AT THIS TIME” ! Or, “You Are Not Technically Homeless Yet Because You Still Live In a Room And We Must Go By The Homeless Rules” ! I have only two weeks left. I applied for SSD& SSI and a few days ago recieved a letter stating they DENIED MY CLAIM, no income except for welfare ! WELFARE ! The VA pension I recieved was ABRUPTLY WITHOUT ANY WARNING OR DUE PROCESS WAS TERMINATED ABRUPTLY IN JANUARY 2016 because I had worked, mistakenly thinking that it was OK, not knowing that I was not allowed to work. Yes, I made a honest error. I would have NEVER EVER knowingly put my pension at risk. I made a honest mistake.
    I live in Jersey City, NJ. I have been ABANDONED by the VA, ABANDONED BY MY COUNTRY, AND NOW I AM LOST ! I Dont know where to turn, and I have ONLY 2 WEEKS LEFT BEFORE I MOVE TO THE STREET. I have many clothes, in GARBAGE BAGS! And nowhere to put them ! I often think, “WHY AM I HERE” ? If ANYONE, ANYONE HAS A PLACE FOR ME TO LIVE TWMPORARILY UNTIL I GET BACK ON MY FEET WITH A INCOME, PLEASE, PLEASE CONTACT ME AND HELP ME. MPLEASE I ONLY HAVE TWO WEEKS LEFT !

    ABANDONED,
    Curtis Young

  27. Curtis Young    

    PLEASE, PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP ME FROM BECOMING HOMELESS ON FEBRUARY 1ST ! PLEASE ! I HAVE NO TIME LEFT, I CONTINUE APPLYING FOR HELP SINCE I ABRUPTLY WAS TOLD I MUST BE OUT OF THE EXTREMELY TINY ROOM RENTED BY THE VVSJ COMMUNITY BASED SERVICES TEMPORARILY PROVIDED AND FAILED TO INFORM ME OF THE ENDING MONTH THAT THE SERVICES WOULD END. THEY APPEAR TO HAVE ALSO ERRED IN THE AMOUNT OF MONTHS, I MOVED IN IN JULY 2016 THE DOCUMENTED THE SERVICES BEGAN IN MAY ! WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN THE MONTH I INITIALLY CONTACTED THEM. I HAVE BEEN ABANDONED BY THE VA AND MY COUNTRY THAT I PROUDLY SERVED DURING THE VIETNAM ERA, AND ENLISTED ONE MONTH AFTER MY 17TH BIRTHDAY.
    I AM LOST AND ALONE. PLEASE, PLEASE IF ANYONE CAN HELP ME TEMPIRARILY CONTACT ME ASAP . PLEASE !

    SINCERELY WITHOUT HOPE,
    CURTIS YOUNG

  28. jesse barnett    

    HOW can I set up A Veteran Homeless Shelter in My Town.

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