HUD Announces Drop in Veteran Homelessness – How Vermont Veteran Services Helps

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) announced this week that the annual Point-in-Time Count conducted in January 2014 shows a decline of homeless veterans by 33 percent since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street.  From the press release

HUD, VA, USICH, and local partners have used evidenced-based practices like Housing First and federal resources like HUD-VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) to get veterans off the street and into stable housing as quickly as possible. Since 2008, the HUD-VASH program has served a total of 74,019 veterans.

“We have an obligation to ensure that every veteran has a place to call home,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. “In just a few years, we have made incredible progress reducing homelessness among veterans, but we have more work to do. HUD will continue collaborating with our federal and local partners to ensure that all of the men and women who have served our country have a stable home and an opportunity to succeed.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs and our federal and local partners should be proud of the gains made reducing Veterans’ homelessness,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, “but so long as there remains a Veteran living on our streets, we have more work to do.”

“As a nation, we have proven that homelessness is a problem we can solve,” said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Laura Green Zeilinger. “Communities all across the country are meeting this costly tragedy with urgency and a focus on helping all veterans and their families achieve safe and stable housing.”

To read the full report click here.

One organization working to help very-low income veteran families in Vermont who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless is Vermont Veteran Services. VVS is operated by the University of Vermont and manages the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program through a grant from the VA. To be eligible, a household must have a combined total monthly income of less than half the area median income, have a head of household or spouse who is a veteran with active duty, with any discharge type other than dishonorable. Priorities are Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn veterans, rural families, and families with dependent children. Program services can include case management, financial assistance, transportation, and legal assistance. Peer services navigators screen potential clients for eligibility and help provide services to obtain or retain stable housing. VVS also manages the Veteran Jail Diversion/Trauma Recovery program on behalf of the Vermont Department of Mental Health and Agency of Human Services through a grant from SAMHSA. More detailed descriptions for each of these programs can be found here. If you or a veteran family you know in Vermont is homeless or in danger of losing their housing please contact VVS at (802) 656-3232.

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