In November, the nation takes a day off to honor its veterans. In recent years, the homeless services world has held these sentiments all year long: diligently working to secure permanent housing for everyone who has served our country.
Below are five key facts about these efforts, and the remaining barriers on the road to finally ending veterans’ homelessness in America.
1. Dramatic Drops in Veteran Homelessness are Associated with Housing First and Increased Government Investments
Within a decade (2010-2019), America’s number of homeless veterans was roughly cut in half. The reduction from 74,087 to 37,085 veterans experiencing homelessness far exceeded the progress realized by chronically homeless individuals and all other subpopulations.
2. Being a Veteran Increases the Risk of Becoming Homeless – But That’s Changing
Historically, national policy failures have meant that veterans are more likely to experience homelessness. In 2019, 21 out of every 10,000 veterans were homeless. This number is only slightly higher than the overall homeless rate of 17 out of every 10,000 Americans.
3. Veterans of Color are More Likely to Experience Homelessness
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander veterans are most at-risk—106 out every 10,000 are homeless, despite their service to our country. American Indians and Black people have similarly elevated numbers.
4. COVID-19 and the Recession May Be a Setback
Within the homeless services world, COVID-19-related unemployment rates and evictions are a cause for alarm. Streams of new clients may be coming to seek assistance from providers.
5. We Can End Homelessness for Veterans. We Can End Homelessness for Everyone.
Since Housing First and government investments have helped to produce such results, the combination can likely help any veterans driven into homelessness by COVID-19 – and all other people experiencing homelessness.
Read the full article about veteran homelessness facts by Joy Moses at National Alliance to End Homelessness.