Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
HUD, VA, and USICH announce 33% drop in Veteran homelessness since 2010
August 26, 2014
BAY PINES, FL – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) , U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) , and U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) today released a new national estimate of Veteran homelessness in the United States. Data collected during the annual Point-in-Time Count conducted in January 2014 shows there were 49,933 homeless Veterans in America, a decline of 33 percent (or 24,837 people) since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of Veterans sleeping on the street.
Across the southwest Florida counties served by the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, 984 homeless Veterans were identified during 2014 Point-in-Time Count activities. The Bay Pines VAHCS actively partners with the community to plan and conduct annual PIT surveys every year. Spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), PITs are conducted nationally to obtain a statistically reliable, unduplicated count, or "snapshot," of sheltered and unsheltered homeless Veterans, individuals and families.
In addition to the Point-in-Time count, the healthcare system conducts extensive outreach in the community to include hosting and participating in community homeless stand downs and conducting annual homeless summits. Thus far in 2014, nearly 4,300 homeless and at-risk Veterans were connected and cared for by the system’s mental health and the Health Care for Homeless Veterans teams.
"The annual Point-in-Time count is the best method we currently have to measure the homeless Veteran population throughout the communities we serve," said Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS. "It is our goal to identify and connect those Veterans with the quality health care services they earned through their service to our great nation."
"From housing and health care to rehabilitation and employment – we are here to support Veterans in a recovery oriented manner gain back living productive and meaningful lives." We have made incredible progress reducing homelessness among Veterans, but we have more work to do,” she said.
HUD, VA, USICH, and local partners continue to use evidenced-based practices like Housing First and federal resources like HUD-VASH (the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program) to get Veterans off the street and into stable housing as quickly as possible. Since 2008, the HUD-VASH program has served a total of 74,019 Veterans. The number of Veterans served by HUD-VASH within the Bay Pines VAHCS since 2008 totals about 3,575.
The federal government has provided significant new resources to help communities pursue the goal of ending homelessness among Veterans. Communities that target these resources strategically are making significant progress and can end Veteran homelessness in their communities in 2015. These strategies include:
Using a Housing First approach, which removes barriers to help Veterans obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible, without unnecessary prerequisites (click here to read a story about a local Veteran who found success through the Housing First program administered by the Bay Pines VAHCS);
Prioritizing the most vulnerable Veterans—especially those experiencing chronic homelessness—for
permanent supportive housing opportunities, including those created through the HUD-VASH program;
Coordinating outreach efforts to identify and engage every Veteran experiencing homelessness and focus
outreach efforts on achieving housing outcomes;
Targeting rapid rehousing interventions, including those made possible through the Department of
Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, toward Veterans who need shorterterm
rental subsidies and services in order to be reintegrated back into our communities;
Leveraging other housing and services resources that can help Veterans who are ineligible for some of the
VA’s programs get into stable housing;
Increasing early detection and access to preventive services so at‐risk Veterans remain stably housed;
Closely monitoring progress toward the goal, including the success of programs achieving permanent
housing outcomes; and
Aligning local goals and strategies with Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End
Explore www.baypines.va.gov/services/homeless/index.asp to learn more about the Bay Pines VAHCS’s programs
for Veterans and to find out what you, your neighbors, and your community can do to help Veterans who are
homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Know that one phone call can be the difference in the life of a
Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Make the Call to 877-4AID-VET (424-3838) to
be connected 24/7 with VA's services to overcome or prevent homelessness for yourself or a Veteran you know.