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Counting every Veteran on the way to ending homelessness
January 28, 2015 by Robert McDonald
VA Sec. Bob McDonald hands out coats to homeless Veterans at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center on Saturday, January 24. Sec. McDonald and other VA leaders will participate in the nationwide point-in-time homeless count in January and February. VA photo by Robert Turtil.
This week, I am joining volunteers across the country to measure the scope of homelessness in America during the point-in-time (PIT) count.
The PIT counts being performed across the country will provide us with a critical benchmark for knowing how much progress we’ve made so far, but we know we have to continue to push forward urgently to achieve this goal.
The current PIT count shows that VA is making progress toward our goal of ending homelessness among Veterans. On a given night in January 2014, an estimated 49,993 Veterans were without a safe, stable home in the United States – 17,885 homeless Veterans living on the street or other places not meant for human habitation and 32,048 in shelters, transitional housing programs or safe havens. This represents a 33 percent decline in the total number of homeless Veterans since 2010, and includes a nearly 43 percent reduction in Veterans living on the street.
VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson participated in the point-in-time homeless count in Baltimore on Sunday, January 25. VA photo by Robert Turtil
Veterans who lived for decades on the street, in cars, abandoned buildings, and other unsuitable places now live in safe, stable homes of their own. I credit this success to the hard work of dedicated VA employees and thousands of partners, inside and outside of government.
Strong collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (which leads the PIT count nationwide), the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and countless other organizations resulted in the adoption of evidence-based practices such as Housing First and rapid re-housing that have dramatically reduced the number of Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. By leveraging the expertise of local homeless service providers through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, organizations with the know-how, management infrastructure and commitment to serving Veterans are helping thousands to remain housed or get quickly re-housed if they fall into homelessness. In FY 2014 alone, more than 260,000 homeless or at-risk Veterans were served by VA specialized homeless programs. Over 72,000 Veterans and their family members were placed in permanent housing or were prevented from becoming homeless.
We have a lot of work left to do, and it will require extraordinary effort and leadership both federally and locally – that’s why I am so heartened that over 440 mayors, governors, county executives and other local officials have joined us and committed to ending veteran homelessness in their communities by the end of this year. Ultimately, ending Veteran homelessness will be achieved when the annual PIT count estimates that there are zero Veterans who are unsheltered and no more than 12,500 Veterans, at any time, who are on the pathway to permanent housing. The 2015 PIT count will measure our progress in reducing Veteran homelessness during 2014; the 2016 PIT count will tell us whether we have met our goal ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.
Together, we can end homelessness among Veterans, but we need everyone to get involved and join us in this mission. As a first step, join me in volunteering for this year’s PIT Count by contacting your local HUD Continuum of Care. If you know a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, please refer him or her to a local VA Medical Center, where our homeless coordinators are ready to help.
Overnight January 25-26, 2015, the annual point-in-time homeless count was held in Baltimore. VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson, U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Baltimore City officials participated in this year’s count. VA photos by Robert Turtil.
4 Comments to “Counting every Veteran on the way to ending homelessness”
Mark Steven Moomey says:
January 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm
There are some homelessness veterans in my home town. Who would need the help from the V.A. Please come here to look all so. Thank you. Mr. Mark Steven Moomey 01/28/15
Timothy Doerner says:
January 28, 2015 at 4:32 pm
As a Veteran, I deeply feel that we are a part of every Veteran Lives. No Veteran should ever be homeless. If we all could do just one thing to help end Homless Veterans there would be no such thing as a homeless Veteran. With the help of all Veterabns we could end Homelessness this year!
Douglas Stephen says:
January 28, 2015 at 4:44 pm
I would like to volunteer. I have (25+) years in the Commercial/Residential Construction. This is what I was looking for. Please let me know if I might be accepted?
January 29, 2015 at 10:24 am
I would like to volunteer to work on this project. Would you direct me to the appropriate area to do this. I live in the metropolitan NYC area.
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Might also add that I have waited for smartphone on the system and finally bought the LG41 Which provides excellent service and is very nice.Go on Google play and download the tracfon app which gives you live time min,text,data, info. Also the new smartphones plus BYOF plans gives you many more options than we use to have.
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I have tried for 2 days to get my family plan reinstated right after calling with s new debit card number. I am told every time that it has been taken care of. My grandson received his minutes but I have not
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