Sec. Shinseki cited the progress his agency has made thus far and explained that the requested funding level for VA Supportive Housing, Supportive Services for Veteran Families, and Grant and Per Diem programs would help VA reach its goal.
Every Veteran who has served America ought to have a home in America. We made great progress toward achieving our goal to end Veteran homelessness in 2015. VA will use knowledge gained over the past four years to ensure robust prevention programs are in place for future years.
Since 2009, VA, together with our Federal, state, and local partners, has reduced the estimated number of homeless Veterans by 24 percent. We have conducted over six million clinical visits with over 600,000 Veterans who were homeless, at-risk of homelessness (including formerly homeless). In 2013 alone, VA served more than 240,000 Veterans who were homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless – 21 percent more than the year before. Over the past four years, the Point-in-Time (PIT) count of homeless Veterans declined steadily, despite challenging economic times. The PIT count estimate of the number of homeless Veterans dropped from 75,609 in January 2009, to 57,849 in January 2013, a 24 percent decrease.
Despite significant progress and important accomplishments, much work remains. We estimate that between 2013 and 2015, approximately 200,000 Veterans will experience homelessness at some point in time. To reach our goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015, the Budget requests $1.6 billion for VA homeless-related programs, including case management support for the HUD-VASH voucher program, the Grant and Per Diem Program, the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, and VA justice programs. This represents an increase of $248 million (17.8 percent) over the 2014 Budget level. This budget supports VA’s long-range plan to end Veteran homelessness by emphasizing rescue for those who are homeless today, and prevention for those at risk of homelessness.