WASHINGTON D.C. — More needs to be done to get veterans off the streets, Department of Veterans Affairs officials said. On any given night, there are more than 33,000 homeless vets across the country, according to data from the VA.
“The bottom line is we want to get our homeless veterans housed,” Press Secretary Terrence Hayes said.
He believes the Department of Veterans Affairs is making progress toward that goal.
According to the VA, there’s been an 11% decline in veteran homelessness since early 2020. It’s the biggest drop in more than five years.
“It’s far from where we need to be,” Hayes said. “The term veteran and homelessness should not even be said in the English dictionary.”
So we wanted to know what they’re doing about it.
Hayes said they’re now working with landlords to overcome the stigma that sometimes comes with renting to vets, who have had trouble finding a place to live.
“One of the things that we’re doing is we’re meeting with those landlords,” Hayes explained. “We have VA leaders from the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Veterans Health Administration meeting with those landlords to educate them on what some of those veterans may be going through and allowing them to understand the resources we’re providing these veterans to help.”
VA staff are also going directly to the streets to reach these men and women.
“It’s about providing these men and women the resources that they require right now, so that they’re able to have that steady housing that all Americans deserve,” Hayes said.
The VA itself is now also providing housing. There are now tiny homes actually on the VA campus in West LA. Vets are living in them.
“The great part about that is they’re now on our campus available to receive the resources and programs that they need keep them home and housed,” Hayes added.
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Officials skipped this count in 2021 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. They said that left an incomplete picture of veteran homelessness in America.