Unstoppable Momentum to End Veteran Homelessness

Homeless Veterans are a visible and troubling reminder of how much work we have left to do. When a Veteran gets to that point, any number of safety have failed, including our own.

That’s why prevention services and unprecedented interagency collaboration have been emphasized ever since Secretary Shinseki called for his goal to end homelessness by 2015. By many measures, the joint effort between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and VA is working toward that goal.

From the Washington Post:

“We come to the mission with different expertise and assets,” Angell said recently. “They have the housing, and we have the clinical care. So when we put the two together, that really is the best way that we’re going to end homelessness.”

Since HUD and VA teamed up, homelessness among Veterans has dropped 12 percent. The 2012 numbers should be released soon.

Though progress has been made, the problem won’t go away unless more community support is built and sustained. VA is ramping up its local community partnerships by releasing nearly $100 million to 151 agencies.

But where is all this going? Support has always been around for homeless Vets, but only in the last few years has the issue been given such urgency. As a VA employee who works on Veteran homelessness said to the Washington Post, “the difference is that we now have a momentum that has occurred that is almost an unstoppable force.”

If you’re a homeless Veteran or family member, or at risk of becoming homeless, please give our help line a call at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838), and visit our homeless Veteran site for more information on housing assistance, health care options, and more.


Alex Horton


  1. J. Sowell    

    The homeless and suicide rates would drop even more if the VA/Congress would put more teeth into US Code 38 5301. The courts have ruled that taking any portion of VA Disability Compensation and awarding them to the former spouse is the same as lowering their disability rating, which federal law also prohibits. The courts/lawyers in most states ignore the law that is suppose to protect veterans service connected VA Disability Compensation from being used to calculate spousal support/alimony in cases of divorce. In many cases this is the only money the veteran has to live on. Since this is federal money (for that matter, tax payers money) there should be wording in the law to make it clear that no state court can consider attachment, allocation, or consider it in anyway when calculating divorce alimony. This money is meant for the disabled veteran that served protecting this country and should not be touched by anyone but the veteran.

    1. M. Richards    

      I have to agree with you on all that your saying we need to give our service men and women everything we can and to make sure that in know way will they on the streets be cause their money was giv’n to a spouse for alimony leaving the service men or women out on the streets! We need to do more for those that have Serviced Their Country so we can have our Freedoms.

    2. Clay Cooper USAF Ret.    

      Well said J. Sowell and may I add,

      How about really doing something for the Veterans like stop sidestepping the issue of VA Doctors making up lies and excuses to prevent Veterans with Service Connected illnesses and injuries to get the real help they need.

      For the past seven years I’ve been screaming at my Senators and nothing has happened.

      Veterans are afraid (except myself) to speak up terrified they would lose their disability rating.

      To Whom It May Concern, my Office Door is wide open and I welcome you!

      L. Clay Cooper USAF Ret.

      1. Clay Cooper USAF Ret.    

        Occasionally I get a Veteran that crosses my desk with an address of the Salvation Army as a home address with alcohol and drugs 99% involved every one of them.

        I got the wrong job and those who are in charge are those appointed not to help but to do damage control to make those look good!!!

      2. robert    

        thank you mr. cooper…..my particular source of lies is the mental health department of the phoenix va…..there are of course those that actually treat you and listen….others create their own file for you and expect you to fall in line….we are veterans of the United States Armed Forces…..we only fall in to prepare for the fight…..we view these little battles with those justifying their existence as missions……we will be victorius….

    3. Ricardo Perez    

      You are so right. The veteran was out there alone.

  2. Mike    

    Fellow Vets: If you find yourself with Hepatitis C, get help!. Mine turned to Cirrhosis quickly, and now it’s new liver time. Beware……..

  3. Stephen Coffman    

    How many of these homeless veterans have claims that have been pending for over one year? Maybe if the VA would REALLY do something about the outstanding claims these extra programs would not be necessary.

    I suggest that if a veteran has a claim that is older than 365 days, the VA award an interm disability rating of 50% until the actual claim is settled. If the settled claim is more than 50% the interm payments are deducted from the award. If the settled claim is less than 50% then the government has the option of recovering the excess.

    This would help the financial situation of veterans who can not make it otherwise. Hopefully, it would eliminate a high percentage of homeless veterans.

    1. Bonnie    

      I put in a claim for PTSD back in January 2010. The VA diagnosed me with PTSD but denied me a rating for it because they didn’t find it service connected but I see a PTSD counselor at the VA hospital every other month. I deployed twice to the Iraq war zone. So I appealed with the DAV over a year ago. I’m still waiting for a decision. This is my first time hearing about a interim 50 percent until your claim is settled. I only get 20% disability. I also did a notice of disagreement for other injuries I sustained while on active duty.

    2. Debra King    

      I am in agreement with you – Stephen Coffman. There should be a system in place to eliminate a veteran from having to be homeless or poverty stricken (where is the love) and to add stressed. I would like to think that the majority really has issues that needs to be addressed. There are some veterans that do not get compensated for real issues. There are possibly issues that are discovered by the VA while examining and not addressed. Why does it have to be a fight and struggle from every angle.

  4. ajs    

    Umm where are the 12 percent that are no longer homeless. I am a homeless vet. who is female with children. I am also 70% disabled service connected, I had to leave military housing very quickly and my children and I have been homeless since then. I have called many 1-800 vet lines for help but all of their services are no longer effective or are completly exhausted by vets who are homeless and addicted to something……..I live in San Diego again I say who are the 12 percent???

  5. AllEn Hope    

    Thousands of homeless veterans out there while high paid individuals draw excellent wages and benefits from VA employment! I’ll bet there aren’t many employees of the VA who experienced home foreclosure like thousands of veterans have! I’ll bet no VA employee chops wood to heat their home or works 60 hours a week with high blood pressure, depression and blood sugar problems! The VA serves itself first and lets crumbs trickle down to most veterans!

  6. Kenneth R    

    5 years ago, I saw the need to help veterans in my rural town and because we boarder Mississippi it became a joint project. We simple don’t have any service to support homeless veterans. The Current program were HUD and the VA have teamed up has completely kill our project of getting and help from the VA. WE have started a website which is incomplete to raise money for phone cards, gas, clothing and food so that they can travel the 100 to 130 miles to get help in larger cities.

    1. robert    

      remember that they must also be challenged to make rightous decisions on those claims. otherwise there will be an overwhelming total of denials of those claims….

  7. Gene Lane U.S.ARMY Ret.    

    I must admit, over the past few years I have noticed a decline in the numbers of homeless veterans on the streets of this community. And as a VA employee I have 1st hand knowledge of certain National initiatives deployed by current leadership to make further advances in this area. Specifically, the VA’s imitative for ending homelessness among those who have served in our nation’s defense. However, I must admit an certain, shall I say, apprehension as the nation gets closer to an election cycle. Of particular worry is our proclivity for resetting priorities as we change leadership. I am not naive enough to believe that all things which favorably impact our nation’s veteran population will or even should be adopted, and or continued by new leaders. As this has not been the case in our past. I do, however believe that we as a society owe a certain debt to members among us who chose no matter their reasons to serving and defend. This is a program that should not be allow to end no matter the ideological bent of our leaders as those currently, and future when deciding whether they will serve or not will surely notice the plight of those who served before.

  8. Tim    

    What about the happily homeless?

  9. Kaddy    

    I’d like to see the demographics of who the 12% are.. Statistics can manipulated to be favorable. If anything I’ve seen more homeless Veterans in Eastern Montana/Western North Dakota than every before and we do not have the resources to deal with this. Groups are forming in communities to deal with these issues but we’re probably 2 years out at best of seeing any real progress due to red tape. People are flocking to the Bakken Oilfield thinking they can find employment right away. It’s simply not the case and if they can find a job housing is limited, substandard and way over-priced.

  10. James Jones    

    I’ve been homeless and unemployed since October 2010. I have a 15 year old son that I have to take care of too. I’ve been stuck in the VA Unplayability/Disability RED tape for two years and still have NO light at the end of my nightmare tunnel. My current disability rating of 94% has me making too much money for food stamps, but I don’t make enough to survive. As a result, my son is housed by my mother, I pay to help support him, but I live on the street for the most part. I was living at my mother’s house, then my sister’s, and then my Grandmother’s house too, but my depression and anger made me leave or goto jail or get Baker Acted again. If the VA would just process my claim and listen to what my doctors are telling me I would not be homeless and I would be able to survive and for the first time…. LIVE. I gave half my life, can I get a few minutes of time to review my claim please? There are no words to describe how one feels except “Failure” after waking up after sleeping in a car, on a park bench, or anywhere else there is shelter from the elements. If the Government wants to help they can cut the red tape. Until then, can I get back my sleeping bag, mat roll, canteen, and E-Tool? I know how to live in the woods much better than in the city. The Army assured me that. Hell, some nights jail is better….

    1. robert    

      good luck buddy….hang in there…and give god a shot at your troubles

  11. Debra King    

    Wow! I pray that something comes through for you and soon – Mr. Jones. You should try seeking counseling for help with your stress and anger.

  12. robert    

    ok…well i finally have the time to blog and for now my thoughts are clear. if you are a homeless vet in the east valley ( Phoenix metro) you are up the creek. more attention is paid to your past than your current situation. it looks good…..the ride to the intake and the “programs”. It’s when you get there and discover that it isn’t a va program at all…. the only thing that lends a touch of va involvement are the people you come in contact with in the beginning. they realize that homeless can also mean hungry and thirsty.in an area where triple digit temperatures are one of the dangers faced by the homeless, maybe soap and water could be included in the intake session…..a sandwich of some sort….the staff supplies candy bars and water and it’s greatly appreciated but must be eaten right away (triple digit heat)….so get real…heroes helping heroes…..live up to that self proclamation of being a hero. do the job a housing program is meant to do….be a true va housing program and house some homeless veterans without all the red tape…..we have done our hero portion.

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