Homelessness Among Veterans Drops 12 Percent in 2011

Photo courtesy of the VA Homeless Veterans website.
TAMPA (2011-12-13) -

Homelessness has been a stubborn problem among US veterans, but federal programs have started to show some real success. A just released survey shows that the number of homeless veterans dropped nationally by 12 percent between January 2010 and January 2011. Florida, Texas, California and New York have the highest number of homeless veterans.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, called it a milestone that keeps him on track for ending homelessness among veterans by 2015.

“Most important, this new report offers welcome news for the tens of thousands of veterans we have helped find a home,” Shinseki said during a conference call with reporters. “This is a critical step, but our work will not be done until no veteran lives homeless in this rich and powerful country.”

The “Point In Time” survey of homeless veterans was conducted in 3,000 cities and counties in January 2010 and again in January of this year. It found that veterans are 50 percent more likely to be homeless than the average American.

“We’ve learned that we cannot end homelessness through street rescues alone and that’s why the VA created the supportive services for veterans and their families,” Shinseki said.

Prevention programs are showing some success. Yet, Secretary Shaun Donovan of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, pointed to their success at reducing the number of homeless veterans on the street.

“We’re particularly proud of the fact that un-sheltered homeless veterans, those that are living on the street, declined about 17 percent,” Donovan said.

However, there were still more than 67,000 homeless veterans in January according to the survey.

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