Veterans

In February 2013, USICH worked with VA to assess status and progress to the 2015 goal, and highlighted what's needed moving foward in a report: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans

Opening Doors set the goal to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans in 2015. Since the launch of Opening Doors in 2010, there has been a 24 percent decrease in homelessness among Veterans and a 30 percent decrease in unsheltered homelessness among Veterans. Veterans who lived for decades on the streets, in cars, abandoned buildings, and other places not meant for human habitation are now in safe, stable homes of their own.

Implementation of Opening Doors focuses on building unprecedented national collaboration around a Veteran-centered approach, using data to drive results, leveraging mainstream systems, targeting resources to the Veterans in greatest need, investing new resources strategically, connecting Veterans  to opportunities that increase their economic success,  and bringing evidence-based best practices—Housing First, permanent supportive housing, and rapid re-housing—to scale in communities.

Our goal is a systematic end to homelessness, which means there are no Veterans sleeping on our streets and every Veteran has access to permanent housing. Ending homelessness among Veterans means having the capacity to serve the inflow of Veterans in need of support to help them regain or maintain stable housing, immediately. When Veterans become or are at-risk of becoming homeless, a system of coordinated Federal, State, and community partners will quickly connect them to the help they need to achieve housing stability. The ultimate goal is that all Veterans have permanent, sustainable housing with access to high-quality health care, including primary care, specialty care, and mental health services; job training and employment; and other supportive services.

Causes of homelessness among Veterans are similar to causes of homelessness among non-Veterans (interrelated economic and personal factors and a shortage of affordable housing). Additionally, Veterans experiencing homelessness have distinct characteristics that make it difficult to regain stability. They are more likely to be unsheltered and to experience homelessness for longer periods of time than non-Veterans.  Veterans have high rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injury, and sexual assault, all of which increase the risk of homelessness. About half of Veterans experiencing homelessness have serious mental illness, half have a history with the criminal justice system, and nearly 70 percent have substance abuse disorders.

In order to improve outcomes for America’s Veterans experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, strategic action should be concentrated in five key areas as suggested in Opening Doors:

  1. Providing Affordable Housing
  2. Providing Permanent Supportive Housing
  3. Increasing Opportunities for Meaningful and Sustainable Employment
  4. Reducing Financial Vulnerability
  5. Improving Homeless Crisis Response Systems

There are an array of programs and services available to Veterans who are at-risk or experiencing homelessness that operate in these key areas. As for other populations, however, the complexity of navigating systems makes it difficult for Veterans to get their needs met and for resources used in the most efficient manner.  

In response to a request from the Senate Committee on Approriations for fiscal year 2012, USICH provided an assessment of the progress of the HUD-VASH program and the efforts to address homelessness experienced by Veterans in rural communities and on Native American reservations. In December 2012, USICH presented USICH Report to Congress on Homeless Veterans.

Go to report

If you are or want to help a Veteran experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, you can call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans.  Trained counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you at 1.877.424.3838

The Department of Veterans Affairs released a fact sheet in September 2011 on the extent of homelessness among Veterans and all VA programs that are integrated to support Veterans experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.

Read the VA's Fact Sheet

Below you will find programs, information, and resources focused specifically on improving outcomes for Veterans experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.

Additional Resources

Responding to the Crisis of Homelessness

Inspired by People: New Report Offers Alternatives to Criminalization

Connect with USICH at the NAEH Conference

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Is Law

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu Announces Ambitious Plan to End Veteran Homelessness

Supportive Services for Veteran Families: A Powerful Tool to Keep Veterans and Their Families Home

Successful Partnerships through Aligned Missions and Empathetic Relationships

Communities Come Together to Discuss Coordinated Entry

Your Input Is Essential to the Ongoing Success of Opening Doors

Four Clarifications about Housing First

How to Talk About Housing First

101,628 People Are Now in Safe and Stable Homes!

In One Year, New Orleans Reduced Veteran Homelessness by 43%, Chronic Homelessness by 30%

Houston and Phoenix are Proving that Ending Homelessness is Possible and Within Reach

Federal Partners Release Final 2014 HMIS Data Standards

Opening Doors Works: USICH Releases Annual Update to Congress

Creating Meaningful Alternatives to Criminalization in Our Communities

Criminalizing Homelessness is Costly, Ineffective, and Infringes on Human Rights

3 Reasons to Address Homelessness as a Human Rights Issue

Starting Is the Starting Point for Coordinated Assessment

At Mayors’ Conference, Leaders Focus on Ending Homelessness

Finding Hope, a Home, and a Future

Proving It’s Possible: How Phoenix Ended Chronic Veteran Homelessness

Leveraging the Affordable Care Act to Solve Homelessness: A Message to CoCs and Ten-Year Plan Leaders

Why Permanent Supportive Housing and Managed Care Need Each Other

In Indian Country, Serving Those Who Have Served

Peer Mentors and Navigators are What We Need

Atlanta Hosts Mobile Fair to Help Veterans Find Housing

The Power of Collaboration

Mayor Nutter Addresses Homelessness in Speech to the US Conference of Mayors

Aligning Assets Towards the Goal: A Blog from VA’s Tom O’Toole on the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (HPACT)

Reflections from the Streets of Hollywood

What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - October 29-November 2

Integrating StandDown into efforts to End Chronic Veteran Homelessness

A Safe Place: Established Safe Haven provider begins collaboration with Tampa VAMC

What We’re Talking About: The Week at USICH - August 27-31

This Week’s Update on Taking Veteran Homelessness to Zero

Rapid Results Boot Camp: The 100 Day Challenge

Veterans in Focus: Beyond VASH

Hollywood Joins the Fight against Veteran Homelessness

New Veterans Resource and Referral Center in DC:  Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Transitioning to stability: VA provides incentive for Transition in Place model

Ending Veteran Homelessness in Ohio: VISN 10 Summit on Homelessness and Employment Opportunities for Veterans

HUD Provides Additional Funds for nearly 900 Local Homeless Programs across the Country

WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced a...

Obama Administration Renews Critical Support for nearly 7,100 Local Homelessness Programs across U.S.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced nearly $1.6 billion in grants to renew support for 7,100...

The Affordable Care Act’s Role in Preventing and Ending Homelessness

What is the Affordable Care Act?  On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care...

Opening Doors: Homelessness Among Veterans

While the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness has been declining over the past three years, 67,000...

SAMHSA Veteran Homelessness Panel - Guiding Principles and Strategies

In August 2011, USICH, SAMHSA, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at...

Closing a Front Door to Homelessness among Veterans

James McGuire June 2007 The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been identified as...

Improving Access to Disability Benefits Among Homeless Persons With Mental Illness: An Agency-Specific Approach to Services Integration.

Robert Rosenheck, Linda Frisman, and Wesley Kasprow April 1999 This study evaluated a joint initiative of...

Referral and Housing Processes in a Long-Term Supported Housing Program for Homeless Veterans

Wesley J. Kasprow, Robert A. Rosenheck, Linda Frisman and Diane DiLella August 2000 The study examined...

Developing Programs for Homeless Veterans: Understanding Driving Forces of Implementation

John Nakashima, Jim McGuire, Stephen Berman and William Daniels February 2004 Between 1992 and 2003, services for homeless...

Developing programs for homeless veterans: understanding driving forces in implementation

John Nakashima 2004 Between 1992 and 2003, services for homeless veterans at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles...

Expanding Service Delivery: Does it Improve Relationships among agencies serving homeless people with mental illness?

James McGuire, Robert Rosenheck and Craig Burnette January 2002 Enhancing interagency services integration has been advocated...

A Modified Therapeutic Community for Homeless Persons

Darren C. Skinner January 2005 This article, "A Modified Therapeutic Community for Homeless Persons with Co-Occurring...

Outcomes After Initial Receipt of Social Security Benefits Among Homeless Veterans With Mental Illness

Robert A. Rosenheck, David J. Dausey, Linda Frisman, and Wesley Kasprow December 2000 This study examines...

Cost-effectiveness of Supported Housing for Homeless Persons With Mental Illness

Robert Rosenheck, Wesley Kasprow, Linda Frisman, and Wen Liu-Mares September 2003 In 1992, the US Department of...

Veterans Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 AHAR Report

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development October 2011 HUD and VA published the second...

Prevalence and Risk of Homelessness among US Veterans: A Multisite Investigation

Jamison Fargo, Stephen Metraux, Thomas Byrne, Ellen Munley, Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, Harlan Jones, George Sheldon,...

Veteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs December 2010 ...

Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups (CHALENG)

In 1994, the VA launched Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) for...

Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans

Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans is a supportive residential rehabilitation and treatment service center for...

Excess Property for Homeless Veterans Initiative

The Excess Property for Homeless Veterans Initiativeprovides for the distribution of federal excess personal property...

Healthcare for Homeless Veterans

The primary mission of the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program (HCHV) is to connect Veterans...

Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem

VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program is offered annually (as funding permits)...

Homeless Veterans Dental Program

The Homeless Veteran Dental Program is a targeted program for Veterans experiencing homelessness as part...

Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP)

The Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) helps Veterans experiencing homelessness gain meaningful employment and increases...

Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH)

Participating VA medical centers (VAMCs) were selected based on factors such as the population of...

Incarcerated Veterans’ Transition Program

The Incarcerated Veterans’ Transition Program provides case management and employment counseling services to Veterans...

Stand Downs

Stand Downs are events that take place around the country that last one to three...

Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) Program

The Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program works with nonprofit organizations to provide social services...

VBA’s (Veterans Benefit Assistance) Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Providers

The VBA’s Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Providers Program can assist homeless provider...

Veterans Benefits Assistance Outreach Program

Veterans Benefits Assistance Homeless Veterans Outreach Coordinators (HVOCs) are located at 56 VA regional offices nationwide....

Veterans Justice Outreach Initiative

The Veterans Justice Outreach initiative limits the criminalization and unnecessary arrest of Veterans suffering from...

Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program

The Veterans’ Workforce Investment Programs provides funds to assist Veterans experiencing homelessness in gaining...

Coordinated Assessment: Putting the Key Pieces in Place

Remarks by Eric Grumdahl at a gathering of community stakeholders focused on ending Veteran and...

“In Order to House Everyone, We Must Tear Down Some Walls…”

In this speech delivered at the Georgia Supportive Housing Association annual conference, USICH Policy Director...

Effective Community-Based Solutions to Encampments

Ending homelessness is about protecting and furthering human rights. Balancing health, safety, and community impact...

Successful Program Model: Washington State’s SOAR Program for Veterans

As mentioned in the article "Pushing To the Goal: Three Ways to Accelerate Ending Veteran...

Ending Veterans Homelessness: HUD-VASH Makes Housing First a Priority

In October 2012, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs(VA) made Housing First the...

Pushing to the Goal: Three Ways to Accelerate Ending Veteran Homelessness

The Administration’s commitment to end homelessness among Veterans and their families remains steadfast....

SAMHSA’s Expert Panel on Veterans of Recent Conflicts

In August 2011, USICH, SAMHSA, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at...

Local Solutions to Assisting Veterans with Move-In Costs in HUD-VASH

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)...

USICH Report to Congress on Homeless Veterans

For Fiscal Year 2012, the Senate Committee on Appropriations asked USICH to provide an assessment of...

Ending Homelessness for Veterans and their Families: the Importance of SSVF

As agencies across the federal government accelerate their work towards the 2015 goal of ending homelessness...

VA’s HPACT Program Collaborates to Meet Healthcare, Housing Needs

The nation is nearing the half-way point towards our goal of ending homelessness for Veterans...

Helping Female Veterans Find Stable Lives

USICH interviewed the Coordinator for the Boston-based Women Veterans Homelessness Program Lauren Dever about successes...

Pilot Program in Massachusetts Links Vulnerable Veterans to Housing and Services Quickly

In Massachusetts, the Department of Veterans Services (DVS) has long been a lead player in...

A Veteran-Centric Approach & Right Sizing Interventions for Veterans in Need - Veteran Profiles

When community partners, homeless service providers, and local Veterans Affairs centers work together, they can...

VA Programs to Prevent and End Homelessness Among Veterans

An Interview with Lisa Pape The innovative HUD-VASH program receives a lot of attention for...

Veterans

In February 2013, USICH worked with VA to assess status and progress to the 2015 goal, and...

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