The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has unveiled critical initiatives to combat the rising trend of homelessness among veterans, aligning with the broader goals of the Biden-Harris administration. The announcement includes two significant grant opportunities aimed at addressing the immediate needs of veterans experiencing homelessness.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up to date.
What Grants Are Being Introduced to Address Veteran Homelessness?
The VA has introduced two grants: Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Grants and Legal Services for Homeless Veterans and Veterans At-Risk for Homelessness Grants.
- SSVF Grants
VA is set to award substantial funding within the next year for the SSVF Grants, supporting organizations in rapidly rehousing veterans and their families, preventing imminent homelessness, and identifying suitable housing solutions. The funding amount will be determined by VA’s budget.
- Legal Services Grants
Over $26 million will be allocated within the coming year to organizations providing legal representation, assistance in court proceedings, and defense in cases related to homelessness for veterans.
How Will These Grants Contribute to Reducing Veteran Homelessness?
These grants focus on swift rehousing, preventive measures, and legal assistance, addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The VA’s announcement follows the release of the 2023 Point-in-Time Count by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, revealing a 7.4% increase in veteran homelessness over 2022. This mirrors a broader trend, indicating a 12% increase in homelessness among all Americans.
What Prompts the VA’s Urgency in Addressing Veteran Homelessness?
The recent data showing an increase in veteran homelessness emphasizes the urgency for the VA to take proactive measures, aligning with its commitment to end veteran homelessness.
Despite the recent uptick, the VA reports a 52.0% decrease in veteran homelessness since 2010 and a 4.5% decrease since 2020. VA Secretary Denis McDonough underlines the commitment to ensuring veterans receive the safe, stable housing they deserve.
VA’s Achievements and Future Endeavors
VA has already housed 38,847 homeless veterans in 2023, exceeding its annual goal two months ahead. The comprehensive efforts include expanded healthcare and legal assistance, aiding over 145,000 veterans and families in retaining their homes, and allocating over $1 billion in grant funding to combat homelessness.
The VA’s approach to combat veteran homelessness is rooted in the evidence-based “Housing First” strategy. This prioritizes housing as the initial step, followed by comprehensive support, such as healthcare, job training, legal aid, and education assistance.
Foundation of VA’s Homelessness Strategy
The “Housing First” approach focuses on swiftly providing veterans with housing, followed by a range of support services. This ensures a holistic approach to addressing the unique needs of homeless veterans.
VA will delve into the potential reasons behind the recent increase in homelessness, including housing costs and the conclusion of COVID-related supports. The commitment is to identify and overcome barriers to support veterans effectively.
How Will VA Investigate and Address the Barriers Contributing to Veteran Homelessness?
VA is dedicated to investigating the factors behind the rise in homelessness and implementing strategic measures to assist veterans in overcoming these barriers.
In line with President Biden’s broader initiatives, VA’s efforts are part of a comprehensive plan to prevent and end homelessness. The call to triple the number of veterans receiving housing vouchers underscores the administration’s commitment to preventing veteran homelessness.
For those seeking more information on the SSVF grant opportunity, visit here. For details on legal services for homeless veterans grant opportunity, visit here. Additional information on VA’s comprehensive efforts to end veteran homelessness can be found at VA.gov/homeless.