Veteran homelessness is on the decline

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While the overall number of homeless people in the United States stayed roughly the same during 2011, veterans made up a smaller portion of them, says the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In its latest homelessness report (.pdf), published Dec. 10 and covering the period from January 2011 to January 2012, HUD says roughly 634,000 people are homeless in the United States, a decline of 0.4 percent, but the homelessness rate among veterans has dropped by 7.2 percent, or 4,876 people.

While homelessness largely remained stable in 2011, it has declined by 5.7 percent since 2007. Chronic homelessness, which refers to a person who has been homeless for more than a year or has a disability and has experienced at least four periods of homelessness over the past three years, has declined by 19.3 percent since 2007 and now only accounts for 16 percent of the homeless population.

Ending veteran homelessness is a priority for the Veterans Affairs Department, which has announced $300 million in grants for community organizations, which it hopes will aid 70,000 veterans and their family members facing homelessness. The deadline for individuals to apply to the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, a housing and homelessness prevention service, is Feb. 1, 2013.

Through September 2012, SSVF has aided roughly 21,500 veterans and 13,500 of their family members, including 8,826 children.

The Obama administration's Opening Doors program is a collaborative effort between 19 agencies that has set a goal of ending veteran homelessness and chronic homelessness by 2015.

For more:
- download the report (.pdf)
- read the HUD and VA announcements

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