This year there are 793 more veterans with a roof over their heads, according to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In 2019, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness dropped by 2.1%, according to the report.
“Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and now it’s our duty to make certain they have a home to call their own,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. “We’ve made great progress in our efforts to end veteran homelessness, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure our heroes have access to affordable housing.”
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 found 37,085 veterans experienced homelessness in January 2019, compared to 37,878 reported in January 2018. HUD estimates among the total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness in 2019, 22,740 veterans were found in sheltered settings while volunteers counted 14,345 veterans living in places not meant for human habitation.
To date, 78 local communities and three states have declared an effective end to veteran homelessness, creating systems to ensure that a veteran’s homelessness is rare, brief, and a one-time encounter.
Last year, veteran homelessness decreased by 5.4% from the previous year, HUD’s report showed.
But critics aren’t happy with the pace set by this administration in ending veteran homelessness. The decrease in veteran homelessness went from an average of nearly 1,600 per year under former President Barack Obama to about 800 per year under President Donald Trump. Critics said this is not a victory.
And Democratic presidential candidates are already thinking about homelessness, and how to end it. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Democratic presidential candidate, introduced a bill in the Senate in October that seeks to end homelessness in the U.S.