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Veterans &Homelessness 6-15-11

Veterans &Homelessness 6-15-11

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Published by Brian Iverson
Growing concern
Growing concern

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Published by: Brian Iverson on Aug 26, 2012
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CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Veterans and Homelessness
Libby Perl
Specialist in Housing Policy June 15, 2011
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govRL34024
 
Veterans and HomelessnessCongressional Research Service
Summary
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans,including the needs of homeless veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported thatin FY2008 it assessed more than 1,500 veterans who served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom andOperation Enduring Freedom theater of operations for participation in its Health Care forHomeless Veterans Program. Both male and female veterans have been overrepresented in thehomeless population, and as the number of veterans increases due to these conflicts, there isconcern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately. The current economicdownturn also has raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, includingveterans.Congress has created numerous programs that serve homeless veterans specifically, almost all of which are funded through the Veterans Health Administration. These programs provide healthcare and rehabilitation services for homeless veterans (the Health Care for Homeless Veterans andDomiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans programs), employment assistance (Homeless VeteransReintegration Program and Compensated Work Therapy program), and transitional housing(Grant and Per Diem program) as well as other supportive services. The VA also works with theDepartment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent supportivehousing to homeless veterans through the HUD-VA Supported Housing Program (HUD-VASH).In the HUD-VASH program, HUD funds rental assistance through Section 8 vouchers while theVA provides supportive services. In addition, two newly enacted programs focus on homelessnessprevention through supportive services: the VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Familiesprogram and a VA and HUD homelessness prevention demonstration program.Several issues regarding veterans and homelessness have become prominent, in part because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One issue is ending homelessness among veterans. In November2009, the VA announced a plan to end homelessness within five years. Both the VA and HUDhave taken steps to increase housing and services for homeless veterans. Funding for VAprograms has increased in recent years (see
Table 4
) and Congress has appropriated funds toincrease available units of permanent supportive housing through the HUD-VASH program. Ineach of the FY2008, FY2009, and FY2010 HUD appropriations acts, Congress provided fundssufficient to support more than 10,000 new vouchers per year, which have been distributed tohousing authorities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. TheFY2011 Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-10)provided an additional $50 million for HUD-VASH.A second issue is the concern that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are at risk of homelessness may not receive the services they need. Efforts are being made to coordinateservices between the VA and Department of Defense to ensure that those leaving military servicetransition to VA programs. In addition, concerns have risen about the needs of female veterans,whose numbers are increasing. Women veterans face challenges that could contribute to theirrisks of homelessness. They are more likely to have experienced sexual trauma than women in thegeneral population and are more likely than male veterans to be single parents. Few homelessprograms for veterans have the facilities to provide separate accommodations for women andwomen with children.
 
Veterans and HomelessnessCongressional Research Service
Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................................1
 
Overview of Veterans and Homelessness.....................................................................................1
 
Definition of “Homeless Veteran”.........................................................................................2
 
Estimates of the Number of Homeless Veterans.....................................................................4
 
The Department of Veterans Affairs.................................................................................5
 
The Department of Housing and Urban Development......................................................7
 
Demographic Characteristics of Homeless Veterans...............................................................9
 
Demographic Characteristics of Veterans Served in VA Homeless Programs..................10
 
Overrepresentation of Veterans in the Homeless Population.......................................................12
 
Overrepresentation of Male Veterans...................................................................................13
 
Overrepresentation of Female Veterans...............................................................................14
 
Why Are Veterans Overrepresented in the Homeless Population?........................................15
 
Factors Present During and After Military Service.........................................................16
 
Factors that Pre-date Military Service............................................................................17
 
Federal Programs that Serve Homeless Veterans........................................................................18
 
The Department of Veterans Affairs.....................................................................................21
 
Health Care for Homeless Veterans...............................................................................21
 
Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans.......................................................................23
 
Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence Program.......................................23
 
Grant and Per Diem Program........................................................................................25
 
Supportive Services for Veteran Families......................................................................28
 
Enhanced Use Leases....................................................................................................28
 
Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Veterans............................................................28
 
Loan Guarantee for Multifamily Transitional Housing Program.....................................29
 
VA and HUD Collaborations...............................................................................................30
 
HUD-VASH..................................................................................................................30
 
Demonstration Program to Prevent Homelessness Among Veterans...............................33
 
The Department of Labor....................................................................................................34
 
Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program....................................................................34
 
Issues Regarding Veterans and Homelessness............................................................................36
 
The VA Plan to End Veteran Homelessness..........................................................................36
 
Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.......................................................................37
 
Women Veterans.................................................................................................................39
 
Tables
Table 1. VA CHALENG Estimates of Homeless Veterans............................................................6
 
Table 2. Information About Veterans Served in VA Homeless Programs, FY2009......................11
 
Table 3. Results from Four Studies: Veterans as a Percentage of the Homeless Populationand Likelihood of Experiencing Homelessness.......................................................................14
 
Table 4. Funding for Selected Homeless Veterans Programs, FY1988 - FY2011........................19
 
Table 5. Selected Outcomes for Veterans Served in VA Homeless Programs..............................27
 

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