WNYC Audio History Highlights Difficulties in Ending Veterans Homelessness
Across the United States, there are still about 40,000 homeless veterans and President Obama’s administration has been working with concerted effort to end veteran homelessness.
Over the years, many American politicians who have addressed and often failed to address veterans’ needs.
As part of the 30 Issues coverage of key presidential election issues, The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC provided an audio history of politicians’ treatment of veterans’ issues in America.
The Brian Lehrer Show is in the middle of a 30-week exploration of issues that are shaping the 2016 election.
In Stars and Stripes, Ann Oliva explained why it will take more time to end veterans homelessness.
“We knew that those were all going to be tough goals to achieve,” said Ann Oliva, deputy assistant secretary for special needs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “But we thought they were doable, and if we made the right policy decisions and had the right data and resources we needed, we could progress, which is what we did.”
Yet Oliva said she couldn’t give a date when homelessness for veterans across the country would end, though agencies attempt to put more resources toward the effort and more cities are meeting federally established benchmarks that show progress in housing homeless veterans.
The latest point-in-time count, which are compiled every January, showed there were about 40,000 homeless veterans left to house, and 13,000 of those veterans live on the streets, according to VA and HUD estimates released Aug. 1.
Oliva said there are most likely more than 40,000, because the count didn’t include veterans who are newly homeless or veterans who have vouchers and can’t find housing.
A lack of affordable housing across the United States is one problem, Olivia said. But the agencies also “haven’t made as much progress as we would have liked,” she said, because more veterans are becoming homeless than was estimated when Obama announced the goal.
Each week, the Brian Lehrer Show dives into the details of one topic at a time – from eliminating college debt to defining political correctness – and solicit your stories about how different policy proposals will impact your life and your vote.