According to the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), approximately 25% of all homeless adults in Indianapolis are veterans.
In 2014, the US Census Bureau estimated that there were 21.8 million veterans living in the US. At the same time, the US population was 318.9 million, meaning that at latest count, approximately 7% of our population had served in the military. Therefore, it’s particularly peculiar that 25% of the homeless sub-population are veterans–nearly four times that of the total population.
CHIP’s Point in Time (PIT) Count suggests that veteran homelessness is affected by several factors, including an increased likeliness to live alone with distant social networks, to struggle with a mental or physical disability that hinders holding a stable job, and to struggle with substance abuse in response to time served in the military.
Responding to the homeless vet epidemic, the White House and the VA boasted in 2009 of their intentions to end veteran homelessness. Here’s what’s been done since:
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is collaborating with the VA Supportive Housing (VASH) program to provide housing vouchers to homeless veterans and their families in conjunction with VA supportive services to place vets in stable, permanent housing.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) works to prevent veterans from losing their homes during troubled times, and often helps to place vets in more stable housing.
The Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) offers federal funding to state and tribal governments as well as non-profit organizations to develop programs assisting troubled and homeless veterans.
The Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) initiative works to provide transitional healthcare for veterans coming off of the streets as well as case management services to ensure they achieve stable housing.
Supposedly in response to such programs, Indy’s homelessness rate is down 3% from 2015, but there’s still much room for improvement.