VA announces hundreds of millions in grant funding to help homeless Veterans after new data shows an uptick in homelessness

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WASHINGTON —The Department of Veterans Affairs announced two grant opportunities that will help Veterans experiencing homelessness and advance the Biden-Harris administration’s broader efforts to reduce homelessness through:

  • Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Grants: Within the coming year, VA will award hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to organizations that help rapidly rehouse Veterans and their families, prevent the imminent loss of a Veteran’s home, or identify new, more suitable housing situations for Veterans and their families. The exact funding amount will be determined by VA’s budget.
  • Legal Services for Homeless Veterans and Veterans At-Risk for Homelessness GrantsWithin the coming year, VA will award more than $26 million in funds to organizations that help homeless Veterans with legal representation, assistance with court proceedings, defense in criminal cases related to homelessness, and more.

This announcement comes shortly after the Department of Housing and Urban Development  released the results of the 2023 Point-in-Time  Count, the annual effort to estimate the number of Americans — including Veterans — experiencing homelessness. The data shows that on a single night in January 2023, there were 35,574 Veterans who were experiencing homelessness, a 7.4% increase over 2022. This uptick mirrors the increase in homelessness among all Americans, which increased by 12% over 2022.

Ending Veteran homelessness is a top priority for VA and the entire Biden-Harris administration. In total, the estimated number of Veterans experiencing homelessness in the U.S. has decreased by 52.0% since 2010 and by 4.5% since 2020. 

“One Veteran experiencing homelessness will always be one too many — and we will do everything in our power to ensure that Veterans get the safe, stable housing they deserve,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “These new grants are a critical part of that effort, empowering VA and our partners to provide more housing and wraparound services to more homeless and at-risk Veterans than ever before. Together, we will not rest until Veteran homelessness is a thing of the past.”

“Every American deserves a safe and affordable home. Like air, water, and food, housing is a basic human need required for the health of individuals, communities, and nations,” said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness director  Jeff Olivet. VA is a critical part of USICH’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness.“The Biden-Harris administration’s plan calls on all parts of the federal government, as well as mayors, landlords, developers, and everyone involved to help us build a future where no one experiences the tragedy of homelessness, and everyone has a safe and affordable home.”

From day one, the VA has taken aggressive action to combat Veteran homelessness. VA has permanently housed 38,847 homeless Veterans thus far in 2023, surpassing the calendar year goal to house 38,000 Veterans two months early. This year, VA has also expanded access to health care for homeless Veterans, expanded access to legal assistance for homeless Veterans, helped more than 145,000 Veterans and their families retain their homes and avoid foreclosure, and awarded more than $1 billion in grant funding to help homeless Veterans. In partnership with HUD, VA also convened 10 national HUD-VA Supportive Housing  bootcamps, in which local VA homeless program staff with public housing agencies from across the country participated in intensive two-day workshops to improve coordination to more quickly rehouse Veterans through the HUD-VASH program. During 2023, the HUD-VASH program helped over 13,000 Veterans exit homelessness and obtain permanent affordable housing with supportive services.

There are many possible reasons for the increase in homelessness among Veterans and all Americans in January 2023, including the cost of housing and the end of COVID-related supports. VA will investigate these barriers and do everything in its power to help Veterans overcome them.

VA’s efforts to combat Veteran homelessness are grounded in reaching out to homeless Veterans, understanding their unique needs, and addressing them. These efforts are built on the evidence-based “Housing First” approach, which prioritizes getting a Veteran into housing, then providing them with the wraparound support they need to stay housed, including health care, job training, legal and education assistance, and more. This initiative is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to prevent and end homelessness. President Biden has also called on Congress to triple the number of Veterans who receive housing vouchers — a critical tool to help prevent Veteran homelessness.

For more information on the SSVF grant opportunity, visit here. For more information on the legal services for homeless Veterans grant opportunity, visit here. For more information about VA’s comprehensive efforts to end Veteran homelessness, visit VA.gov/homeless.

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