The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released the veteran numbers from the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), revealing a 5.4 percent decrease in veteran homelessness since 2017. On a given night in the United States, 37,878 veterans are experiencing homelessness compared to 40,020 in 2017. Of those 38,878, 23,312 veterans were found in sheltered settings (5.6 percent decrease since 2017) while volunteers counted 14,566 veterans living in places not meant for human habitation (5.0 percent decrease since 2017).
“Evidence-based practices work to end veteran homelessness, and we recognize and applaud that this progress has been made in the face of an affordable housing crisis,” said Kathryn Monet, NCHV CEO. “Any decrease is commendable, but senior leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can and must do more to encourage progress across the country.”
Service providers in communities throughout the U.S. are working hard every day to meet the needs of veterans who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, and in many areas of the country are having great success. However, it is not a surprise that the largest decreases in the AHAR Point in Time counts came during a time when ending veteran homelessness was a top priority of VA.
Ending veteran homelessness requires a permanent commitment – a commitment to our veterans that we will not accept any number of veterans sleeping on the street. VA has shown in the past that with its leadership and prioritization of ending veteran homelessness we can make better progress as a nation toward ending homelessness among veterans.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans calls on VA to once again name ending veteran homelessness as a top priority to show veterans that we won’t let them slip through the cracks and that we will meet our commitment as a nation to care for those who have borne the battle.
We thank VA, HUD, DOL, USICH, and all Federal agencies that partner to help homeless veterans, and we especially recognize the community-based service providers implementing the programs these agencies fund. Your work is paying off, and we remain always committed to helping ensure you have the partners, funding, resources, training, and technical assistance you need to end homelessness among veterans in your community and across the country.