Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins applauded the findings of a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study that revealed that the number of veterans experiencing homelessness in 2018 decreased by 5.4 percent since last year. HUD also reported a nearly 10 percent decline among female veterans experiencing homelessness.
Today’s findings build on an encouraging decline in veteran homelessness that is largely attributed to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. As the Chairman of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee and a member of the subcommittee that funds the Department of Veterans Affairs, Senator Collins has fought to ensure continued funding for veterans homelessness programs, including the HUD-VASH program. Since 2008, more than 90,000 VASH vouchers have been awarded, including 238 vouchers in Maine. As a result of Senator Collins’ efforts, homelessness among veterans has declined 48.9 percent since 2008.
“Veterans have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms, and we have a duty to provide these courageous men and women with the benefits and resources they have earned through their service,” said Senator Collins. “That’s why I have fought for the continued funding of the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, which provides a lifeline to thousands of homeless and at-risk veterans each year. We must continue to build on the tremendous progress we have made to ensure that in the land of the free, there will always be a home for the brave.”
Each year, thousands of communities around the country conduct one-night ‘Point-in-Time’ estimates of the number of persons experiencing homelessness—in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and unsheltered locations. This year’s estimate found that 37,878 veterans experienced homelessness in January 2018 compared to 40,020 reported in January 2017. In January 2018, local communities reported 3,219 homeless female veterans compared to 3,571 one year earlier.
Last year, more than 4,000 veterans, many experiencing chronic forms of homelessness, found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the HUD-VASH program. An additional 50,000 veterans found permanent housing and supportive services through VA’s continuum of homeless programs.