The veteran homeless population is falling, but 50,000 — and potentially many more — still lack permanent housing
By Derek Hawkins
Homeless veterans made up more than 11 percent of the adult homeless population in the United States in 2014, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
At the beginning of each year, the agency measures the scope of U.S. homelessness by tallying the number of people living on the streets or in temporary housing on a single night in more than 3,000 cities and counties nationwide. In 2014, more than 578,000 people were living without permanent housing, and nearly 50,000 of them were veterans, according to HUD.
Advocacy organizations such as the National Coalition for the Homeless say the figure is likely much higher — potentially in the hundreds of thousands on any given night — but HUD’s surveys are the main metric for policymakers.
President Barack Obama and the Department of Veterans Affairs launched an ambitious program in 2010 to end homelessness among veterans through partnerships with state and local governments. Since the program’s inception, veteran homelessness has fallen by about 33 percent, while the total U.S. homeless population has fallen less than 10 percent, according to HUD data.