For 2023, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had set a rather sizable goal of getting 38,000 homeless veterans into permanent housing and off the streets. By the time the calendar closed on the year, they had successfully gotten 46,552 settled into their new homes, resulting in beating expectations by 23%. With 96% remaining in their housing throughout the year, they also beat their expectations here by 1%. Currently, they claim they have rehoused or are in the process of rehousing the 1,919 veterans who became homeless after getting housing.
Thanks to a big push by Congress, just before an election, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the VA linked up to devise some new programs. Specifically, they wanted to get veterans out of at-risk temporary homes and into permanent and sustainable housing.
During the evening of Jan 24th, VA Secretary Denis McDonough joined HUD’s annual “Point-in-Time count of the homeless” in Sacramento, CA. Speaking with veterans, he “listened” to their reasons for being homeless and helped make them aware of programs that could potentially help. As announced in December, the 2023 Point-in-Time shot up 7.4% from 2022 at 35,574. While McDonough was uncertain about the spike, he claimed it was likely from the end of numerous COVID programs that helped keep veterans housed. He claimed they expect answers by summer.
Overall, the program has seen routine success with a 52% decrease since 2010, when over 76k veterans were in the streets or couch surfing with friends and family. Monica Díaz, executive director of the VA Homeless Programs Office, claims the VA now has the tools to help, and they will be doing more to get veterans safe and secure. She acknowledges that safe housing is the first step in helping PTSD, sobriety, and other therapies be effective.