Homeless veterans sift through hundreds of donated shoes and boots at the Denver Armory. DoD/U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Liesl Marelli

HUD, VA release new homelessness study

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and VA have published the most authoritative analysis on the extent and nature of homelessness among our country’s veterans. “Veteran Homeless: A Supplemental Report to the 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment to Congress” details the study’s findings, released in February, in a first-ever collaborative report of its kind between two government agencies. The most noteworthy finding: nearly 76,000 veterans were homeless on a given night in 2009, and around 136,000 veterans spent at least one night in a shelter during that year.

The report also notes that veterans are 50 percent more likely to fall into homelessness, compared to the rest of the population. This ratio is even greater among impoverished and minority veterans.

Additionally, veterans contrast the overall homeless population in the demographics that comprise it. About 96 percent of homeless veterans are single adults and about 4 percent are veterans with families; the general homeless population claims 66 percent of its members as single, non-attached persons. The study also found that 10 percent of veterans in poverty became homeless at some point during the year, compared to just over 5 percent of adults living in poverty.

Outside of conducting studies, the two agencies provide direct support to homeless veterans. Through the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, HUD provides rental assistance for homeless veterans, while VA offers case management and clinical services. Since 2008, a total investment of $225 million has gone toward providing housing and supportive service for approximately 30,000 veterans who would otherwise be homeless.

To read the entire report, click here.