This week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a 2.1% decrease in veteran homelessness, compared to 2018.

The results are promising, and show that homelessness is solvable with enough leadership, resources, and political will.

Key insights:

  • This year, there were 37,085 veterans experiencing homelessness on a given night, down from last year’s total of 37,878.
  • HUD estimates that 14,345 veterans were unsheltered (38.6%), which is consistent with the unsheltered figure for 2018 (38.5%).

This year’s count represents a 43.3% decrease in the number of veterans experiencing homelessness since 2011.

While this progress is encouraging, an enormous amount of work remains on behalf of veterans who are currently homeless, and for the nation’s broader homeless population.

The decrease was announced today by Secretary Carson of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.  It is a welcome reminder that the mission of ending homelessness is, in fact, achievable.

To date, 78 local communities and three states have declared an effective end to veteran homelessness. While there are many factors that have contributed to this success, three driving forces have made it possible:

  1. federal resources adequate to meet the needs of homeless veterans for housing and services;
  2. a full spectrum of federally-funded, evidence-based interventions, ranging from street outreach, to permanent housing, to health care; and
  3. strong leadership at the national and local levels.

“These numbers show that homelessness is not an unsolvable problem.  Indeed, robust federal resources, coupled with strong local leadership and talented nonprofit agency partners, have once again reduced the number of veterans sleeping on the streets and in shelters,” said Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

“It should also be noted that ending veteran homelessness has been a bipartisan effort, and that this bipartisanship has been instrumental in its success. We hope that the nation’s leaders are as inspired by this progress as we are, and will join us in supporting communities to finish the job of ending homelessness for all veterans, and then extending that effort to all people who sleep on the nation’s streets and in shelters tonight.”

NAEH 11/14/19