Our nation has made tremendous progress in reducing and ending veteran homelessness. In the next few years, we have an opportunity to finish the job.
Numerous communities across the country have already demonstrated that it is possible to end veteran homelessness across a region. To date, 12 US communities participating in Built for Zero have achieved functional zero, and 82 communities and 3 states have achieved the Federal Benchmarks and Criteria on Ending Veteran Homelessness.
Support from the federal government was critical to this success. The Obama administration’s commitment to end veteran homelessness set the stage for many communities to make progress towards zero. Under the Biden administration, we see a pathway to helping communities make veteran homelessness rare and brief when it occurs, everywhere.
The progress that our country has made offers not only an opportunity to recognize what got us this far, but to reassess changes to funding, policies, and provider capacity needed to go even farther. As national organizations committed to making veteran homelessness rare and brief, we worked to identify high leverage opportunities to accelerate this work. We drew upon our diverse experiences, which includes working directly with communities on systemic change, advocating for policy change, and providing transitional and permanent housing to veterans experiencing homelessness.
Together, we — Community Solutions, U.S.VETS, Volunteers of America, and National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, supported by The Home Depot Foundation — have identified two key opportunities to make sure we finish the job.
- Our nation must maintain or increase the level of funding targeted to permanently ending veterans’ homelessness.
- We must address remaining policy constraints across all programs that restrict communities from fully deploying and making optimal use of all existing resources. We have identified the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Grant and Per Diem program as one of the most critical resources that would be catalytic if greater flexibility is granted to its operators.