How to Stop the Rise of Veteran Homelessness with Affordable Housing
This article will discuss the rise of homelessness among veterans, how the lack of affordable housing is creating additional challenges, strategies to end homelessness, and how Vendaval Corp plans to help.
On a single night in January 2020, 37,252 veterans were experiencing homelessness, 22,048 veterans were sheltered, while 15,204 veterans were unsheltered. (4) Last month the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, and from 2019 to early 2020 it shows the first increase in veteran homelessness in more than a decade. (1)
Since the assessment took place in January 2020, pre-pandemic, this raises additional concerns about how veterans have been affected by the pandemic. HUD officials were expected to conduct their 2021 assessment, but it’s still unclear when that information will be released. (1)
Any increase in veteran homelessness is unacceptable,” the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans said in a statement. “People across the country are suffering due to (the pandemic’s) economic fallout, making it much more critical to work diligently to ensure veterans can access housing as well continue our mission to end veteran homelessness.” (1)
Another barrier for veterans is the scarcity of affordable housing. Although there are programs and support available to help, there isn’t shortage of housing for placement. “A lack of affordable housing is a major challenge across the country, and if communities are not coordinating their efforts, it can slow down progress” states Randy Brown, Director of Communications at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. (2)
In this article we’ll discuss how affordable housing is creating challenges, especially in high-cost areas, for veterans as well as strategies that will help end veteran homelessness.
How the Lack of Affordable Housing is Creating Challenges
For almost a decade the number of homeless veterans was on a downward trend, but now that number is back on the rise. The shortage of affordable housing could undermine both the short-term and long-term results of federal and local prioritization that had previously reduced the number of homeless veterans. (3)
Homelessness among veterans is on the rise in high-cost areas like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle. California, which has the largest number of homeless veterans in the country, is a hotbed for housing shortages, severe cost burdens, and homelessness. (3)
Developing and operating an adequate supply of supportive housing is increasingly challenging in these high-cost markets. The ability to secure adequate funding is critical for supportive housing programs to remain viable. Furthermore, even though programs such as eviction prevention services and rapid re-housing have proven to effective, there is not enough evidence on whether this holds true in high-cost areas. (3)
Strategies to End Veteran Homelessness
If a veteran cannot access housing due to substance abuse for example, and they are required to address that issue before having a roof over their heads, they are much more likely to not seek assistance, or have difficulty maintaining those services, if they do not have the stability a home provides. Evidence shows that providing veterans experiencing homelessness with housing and services, without restrictions on sobriety, substance use, and other conditions, will lead to housing stability and improved outcomes in the long term. (3)
Significant progress has been made in housing our nation’s homeless veterans due to connecting them with rapid re-housing through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, and permanent supportive housing through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH). (4) Testing ways to expand funding could strengthen the knowledge of how rapid re-housing efforts support and help more homeless veterans obtain and maintain hosing without having to rely on permanent subsidies from federal programs. (3)
In total, 65 cities and towns across 33 states have ended veteran homelessness using this ‘housing first’ strategy. “Communities that are most successful make it a community-wide priority to end veteran homelessness.” (2) When communities have a system in place that provides veterans with a temporary place to stay while permanent housing and any needed services are being arranged, this will mitigate homelessness.
How Vendaval Corp Plans to Provide Affordable Housing & Programs for Veterans
Vendaval serves our nation with a strong belief that every veteran is valuable and deserves our unfailing support. Veterans lived their lives in the service of others, and it is only just that we provide them with the most assistance possible.
Nick Saifan, a 24-year-Navy/Army veteran and Chairman of Vendaval, knows the challenges veterans face as they seek affordable housing, veteran services, and employment. He also knows what it takes to help his fellow service members.
Since Saifan was a teen, he’s been giving back to his community and his peers. He’s been recognized countless times for his service, including his proudest achievement, the “Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.” This was the result of his many years of volunteering locally and internationally when deployed, donating and devoting many hours and days to his community.
One of Vendaval, Corp's missions is to make a positive difference to the lives of veterans by providing them transition assistance into the community, including mentoring, job placement, transportation from and to medical appointments, on the job training, housing assistance, business attire assistance, home furnishings, transportation funding, and other needs that are not accessible or available to veterans.
- Bennet, Abbie. "For the first time 'in many years,' veteran homelessness was up in 2020, even before the pandemic." Audacy: Connecting Vets News. https://www.audacy.com/connectingvets/news/inside-veterans-affairs/veteran-homelessness-increased-in-2020-before-pandemic. 2021, Mar. 18.
- Briody, Blaire. "A "Housing First" Strategy Could Help Solve Veteran Homelessness." OZY: A Modern Media Company. https://www.ozy.com/the-new-and-the-next/a-housing-first-strategy-could-help-solve-veteran-homelessness/90032/. 2018, Oct. 31.
- Cohen, O., Burrowes, K., and Brennan, M. "Tackling Veteran Homelessness in High-Cost Areas." Housing Matters: An Urban Institute Initiative. https://housingmatters.urban.org/articles/tackling-veteran-homelessness-high-cost-areas. 2018, Nov. 07.
- Ending Homeless for Our Veterans. National Alliance to End Homelessness. https://housingmatters.urban.org/articles/tackling-veteran-homelessness-high-cost-areas. Updated: 2021, April.
- Wentling, Nikki. "Veteran homelessness increased from 2019 to 2020, according to new HUD report." Stars and Stripes. https://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/veteran-homelessness-increased-from-2019-to-2020-according-to-new-hud-report-1.666387. 2021, Mar. 18.