Stanford Social Innovation Review: Mobilize Communities for Homeless Vets

By Nadim Matta, Keith W. Harris, Ann Marie Oliva & Lisa M. Pape 

Veterans have historically been overrepresented within the adult homeless population. While homelessness of any kind is tragic, veteran homelessness is particularly poignant because of the deep sacrifices these men and women made for their country. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that in 2010, there were more than 76,000 veterans experiencing homelessness in the country, approximately a third of whom were considered chronically homeless.

In November 2009, President Barack Obama, along with Secretary Eric Shinseki of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Secretary Shaun Donovan of HUD committed to ending homelessness among veterans. In the years that followed, significant resources were directed toward this goal, and the numbers of veterans experiencing homelessness in much of the country decreased steadily. By the end of 2012, there was an 18 percent decrease nationwide. During that period, progress in large metropolitan areas lagged slightly behind other areas: In 25 of the largest US cities by population, which accounted for 40 percent of the total number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the country, the rate decreased by 16 percent.

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This SSIR article first appeared in the Winter 2018 Edition.