The number of homeless veterans has decreased by 24 percent since 2010. That’s according to the Point–in-Time Estimate of Homelessness, a national report released annually by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Data for homeless vets living in shelters or on the streets is collected by volunteers over the course of a single night every January. According to the 2013 report prepared by HUD, 57,849 homeless veterans were counted on a single night. That shows an 8-percent reduction from January 2012 to January 2013. The decline keeps the VA on track to meet the goal of eradicating homelessness among veterans in 2015. (Results from the 2014 survey were not available in time for this issue of DAV Magazine.)
“That is very good news regarding a very tough problem,” said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “No one who served our country should be huddled under a bridge, in shelters or camped out in the woods, and I applaud the government’s efforts, as well as our Departments, Chapters and individual members who work so hard to end this national tragedy.” Participating in stand downs, collecting and distributing winter coats and serving meals in shelters are just a few ways that DAV members contribute in their neighborhoods every day.
As they walked through communities around the country, the volunteers used the new Point-in-Time mobile application for iPad and iPhone, developed by the VA’s Office of Information Technology. With it, the volunteers were able to collect basic demographic information about the homeless veterans and log their locations using the Apple geo-locator. The new app did more than demonstrate the VA’s readiness to innovate with mobile computing. It also helped the VA break through major hurdles to create a path for future mobile development.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a statement that the VA is “not going to rest until every veteran who has fought for America has a home in America. The results in the latest report are a credit to the effort given by our dedicated staff, and our federal, state and community partners who are committed to ending veterans’ homelessness.