The announcement from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, reflects the results of the first full Point-in-Time Count since 2020, and shows the largest decline in veteran homelessness in more than five years.
“It is unacceptable for any American to live without a home. This progress shows what is possible when our federal, state, and local leaders rally behind a common goal and demonstrate the collective resolve to help those in need,” said Ann Oliva, Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “This progress on behalf of the nation’s veterans is possible through the tireless efforts of front-line workers, appropriately scaled federal resources, and an alignment to known best practices.”
The key best practice guiding this reduction has been the Housing First model. This model is central to veteran homelessness programs, including the Supportive Services for Veteran Families and the HUD-VA Supportive Housing programs.
Housing First is driven by the understanding that the most effective way to end a person’s homelessness is to connect them with housing as quickly as possible, without onerous preconditions, and then to connect them with the supportive services that they may need. Research consistently shows that this approach yields better service outcomes, is more cost effective, and helps people stay in housing longer than treatment-first models.
Despite the reductions, which show a 55.3 percent decline over 2010 numbers, the data illustrate an ongoing crisis that will demand consistent leadership, resources, and fidelity to Housing First to sustain progress. The new data show that on a single night in January 2022, more than 33,000 veterans remain homeless in the United States.
“Today’s announcement is a big step forward in a larger mission that is yet to be accomplished,” Oliva said. “This Veterans Day, the Alliance pledges to recommit itself and its partners to the shared mission and the shared work to ultimately end veteran homelessness.”