DAV is disheartened to learn of the more than 7.4% increase in veteran homelessness, including a 14% rise in unsheltered veterans in the point-in-time count from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Last month, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced its goal of permanently housing 38,000 veterans, a full two months early. However, those efforts were not enough to overcome the largest yearly jump in veteran homelessness since federal officials started tracking more than a decade ago.

While the VA has made significant strides since 2010 in reducing the overall number of homeless veterans with a 55.3% drop, more needs to be done to fully address the severity of this nationwide housing crisis.

We have learned what works and know that ending veteran homelessness is possible. But it’s only possible when our nation chooses to fully invest in programs and systems that work—emergency rental assistance, preservation and expansion of affordable housing stock, implementation and enforcement of comprehensive tenant protections and leaders willing to treat this issue like the emergency that it is.

If not, our nation will continue to struggle with ending veteran homelessness.