For the second year in a row, Veterans Affairs officials met their goal of permanently housing 38,000 veterans facing financial problems and uncertain shelter options, department leaders announced on Wednesday.
The news means that department staffers have helped house more than 78,000 homeless veterans since the start of 2022, part of a focused outreach campaign designed to target veterans in most need of immediate help.
In a statement, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the progress is encouraging but also underscores the challenges facing too many veterans in America today.
“While we met our goals for 2023, we’re not stopping here,” he said. “We’re going to keep pushing — through the end of this calendar year and beyond — until every veteran has a safe, stable place to call home in this country they fought to defend.”
According to the latest estimates from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, about 33,000 veterans across the country are without reliable housing options on any given night. That figure has dropped in recent years.
VA officials said since the start of 2022, department programs have helped nearly 192,000 veterans and family members avoid losing their homes because of financial reasons. They have also seen about 93% of the individuals placed in permanent housing remain in solid financial standing one year later.
Monica Díaz, executive director of the VA Homeless Programs Office, credited increased partnerships with local organizations for helping officials better reach and aid veterans.
“The need is there. I don’t think the need among veterans has changed,” she said. “And I think that need will continue to be prevalent. But if veterans have trust in the system and can come to us for help, that is a success.”
Finding affordable housing for veterans remains a challenge, Diaz said. Veterans Affairs officials will work in the future to find additional ways to partner with landlords and rental companies to expand those options.
Veterans seeking help with homelessness or related financial problems can call 877-424-3838 for help or visit the department’s web site.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.