Tackling veteran homelessness is part of a White House announcement Thursday to spend $3.1 billion to combat the overall crisis through community support grants.
The new measure is “the largest-ever, single-year investment … to help communities address homelessness,” the Biden administration said in a statement.
About 33,000 veterans across the country lack access to permanent housing, down 11% since 2020 and down 55% since 2010, according to the 2022 Point-in-Time Count released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The VA has been addressing the issue of homeless veterans for the past two years with a target of placing 38,000 veterans into permanent housing. The VA exceeded that goal by finding more than 40,000 veterans a place to live in 2022.
The $3.1 billion will be provided to HUD’s Continuum of Care Program, which awards funds for community groups and local governments to help provide support to families facing the threat of homelessness.
The money will not be solely earmarked for veterans, but the White House is encouraging officials with the Continuum of Care program to work with participants to “coordinate with local Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers to ensure these funds are effectively supporting veterans and their families.”
Other efforts in the new investment include $11.5 million in legal services grants, a first of its kind, according to the White House, to help veterans obtain representation in landlord-tenant disputes, as well as assist in other court proceedings such as child support, custody or estate planning.
“For veterans, legal support can be the difference between becoming homeless and having safe, stable housing,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “With the award of these first-of-their-kind VA grants, more veterans will have the legal representation they deserve, which will increase their access to housing and employment.”
The Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service is being awarded more than $58 million to help connect homeless veterans with job opportunities. The money will go toward veterans learning occupational skills and participating in on-the-job training in fields such as manufacturing, construction, information technology and cybersecurity.
There also will be a new series of “boot camps” conducted by HUD and the VA to help VA medical centers and public housing agencies find veterans a place to live more quickly.