Homelessness is a widespread issue. It is far reaching and at times generational. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness defines homeless persons residing in emergency shelter, transitional housing or safe havens as sheltered populations and those living on the streets, abandoned buildings and cars as "unsheltered". Homelessness involving veterans is something that is prevalent throughout the United States. Los Angeles, California, one of the nation's largest homeless populations which saw a 57 percent increase in the number of homeless vets living on Los Angeles streets from last year.
A recent report from Housing and Urban Development reported that efforts have begun to make a substantive difference. The number of veterans that are homeless have begun to lessen, about 40% in 2016, from the last five years. Additionally, the VA is making a commitment to become more proactive regarding the issue. The office has begun to work together with other government officials, various employers, faith based non-profits and other non profits, city housing providers among others.
In the beginning of 2016, there was nearly 40,000 veterans that identify as homeless. Of those numbers, approximately 13,000 of those 40,000 were living on the streets, or in uncared for buildings or really anywhere that is accessible that they were sure they wouldn’t be thrown out of.
There may be areas where veterans aren’t homeless. According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, a community is said to have “effectively ended” homelessness if they have been able to provide permanent housing to all veterans within 90 days after they have been identified as homeless and have housed all veterans except for those who have refused assistance. This national trend isn’t the norm and is subject to shift and change without notice. In January 2016, HUD data reports that there are more than half a million homeless persons in the U.S.