Amarillo sees 26.2% decline in number of homeless veterans


Veteran homelessness in the U.S. continues to decline according to a new national estimate announced today by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson. HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report finds the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2018 decreased 5.4 percent since last year, falling to nearly half of the number of homeless veterans reported in 2010.

According to the HUD report, Amarillo has seen a 26.2-percent decline in the number of homeless veterans since 2017, compared to a 12-percent decrease in Texas

"Right now, between Amarillo and Lubbock, which we have vouchers in Lubbock, as well, with three public housing authorities, we have over 260 veterans housed, off the streets and receiving intensive case management,” Teena Hall, coordinator for the Amarillo VA's housing program, said.

The Amarillo VA has partnered with HUD on the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD VASH) program. With this program, chronically homeless veterans receive a voucher for permanent housing.

"One big goal of our program is to be able to graduate veterans off our program. We're always here for them, even when they graduate, but that is very exciting when you get to see them come from the bottom all the way back up to being successful, it's very rewarding," Hall said.

In announcing the latest annual estimate, HUD Secretary Ben Carson and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie noted that local communities are reporting reductions in the number of veterans in their shelter systems and on their streets. View local estimates of veteran homelessness.

“We owe it to our veterans to make certain they have a place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Carson. “We’ve made great strides in our efforts to end veteran homelessness, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure those who wore our nation’s uniform have access to stable housing.”

“The reduction in homelessness among veterans announced today shows that the strategies we are using to help the most vulnerable veterans become stably housed are working,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This is good news for all Veterans.”

“In Home, Together, the new federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, we redouble our commitment to ending homelessness among Veterans and among all Americans,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “Working together at the federal, state and local level, we can and will continue to make progress until all Americans have a stable home from which they can pursue opportunity.”

Each year, thousands of local communities around the country conduct one-night ‘Point-in-Time’ estimates of the number of persons experiencing homelessness—in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered locations. 

This year’s estimate finds 37,878 veterans experienced homelessness in January 2018, compared to 40,020 reported in January 2017. HUD estimates among the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2018, 23,312 veterans were found in sheltered settings while volunteers counted 14,566 veterans living in places not meant for human habitation.

HUD also reports a nearly 10 percent decline among female veterans experiencing homelessness. In January 2018, local communities reported 3,219 homeless female veterans compared to 3,571 one year earlier.

The decrease in veteran homelessness can largely be attributed to the effectiveness of the HUD-VASH program, which combines permanent HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. HUD-VASH is complemented by a continuum of VA programs that use modern tools and technology to identify the most vulnerable veterans and rapidly connect them to the appropriate interventions to become and remain stably housed.

Last year alone, more than 4,000 veterans, many experiencing chronic forms of homelessness, found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the HUD-VASH program. An additional 50,000 veterans found permanent housing and supportive services through VA’s continuum of homeless programs.

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