VA will share more than $17 million in grants with community groups to create 1,155 beds for homeless veterans this year. The money will go to 19 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
A key tool in VA's drive to eliminate homelessness among veterans, the grants helped to reduce the number of homeless veterans on any given night by 15 percent – down to about 131,000.
In other programs, VA provides health care and other benefits to about 100,000 homeless veterans, including help in obtaining foreclosed homes and excess federal property (i.e., clothes, footwear and blankets).
The Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program operates from 132 sites to provide outreach, physical and psychiatric examinations, and referrals for more than 40,000 veterans annually. About 2,100 beds in VA domiciliaries provide treatment to more than 5,000 veterans each year.
In addition, VA works with volunteers and community organizations to serve tens of thousands of veterans each year through "stand-down" events that offer basic services and referrals to homeless veterans.
In terms of dollars and the number of veterans served, VA has the largest integrated network of homeless assistance programs in the nation. In fiscal 2009, VA expected to spend $2.8 billion to provide health care and specialized homeless programs, with an anticipated $400 million increase in the budget for fiscal year 2010.
More information about VA's homeless programs is available at its Web site .