Tags: Veterans | veteran homelessness | VA

What Role Does the Veterans Administration Have in Ending Veteran Homelessness?

By    |   Sunday, 28 Jun 2015 09:30 AM

Best known for providing health care to veterans of the U.S. armed services, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also works to combat homelessness among veterans in the belief that housing and health are connected and mutually reinforcing.

Beginning in 2010, the VA stepped up efforts to secure stable housing for veterans, who are statistically more likely to be homeless than the general population, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The reasons for veteran homelessness can range from combat-induced post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to what Green Doors, a Texas housing nonprofit, calls "lack of support and social isolation" once service members are discharged back into civilian life.

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The VA is a partner in the government’s Opening Doors program, launched in 2010, to coordinate emergency housing efforts across several agencies. Through one initiative, Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF), the VA funds the grassroots anti-poverty organizations whose care workers fan out in communities to find homeless veterans and get them into housing.

The VA, in its own literature, says it is "engaging in partnerships to expand access to meaningful employment, affordable housing and move-in essentials" — the latter referring to the household basics needed for kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms.

The VA's actions are guided by the principle of "Housing First," which holds that other benefits to health and well-being flow from having a real place of one's own to live, and that once housing is established, other forms of assistance should follow to help prevent backsliding, according to Pathways to Housing.

The VA set a goal in 2010 of ending homelessness among veterans before 2016. VA Secretary Bob McDonald, who came aboard in 2014 to quell a scandal over fatal delays in medical care, has downplayed that original deadline. But in May 2015 he said of veteran homelessness, "we can get to zero, and we can stay at zero," Military Times reports.

The VA also acts as a clearinghouse for other organizations dedicated to combating veteran homelessness, several of which the VA lists on its website.

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Best known for providing health care to veterans of the U.S. armed services, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also works to combat homelessness among veterans in the belief that housing and health are connected and mutually reinforcing.
veteran homelessness, VA
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2015-30-28
Sunday, 28 Jun 2015 09:30 AM
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