The Biden administration on Thursday announced $3.1 billion in federal funding to support efforts to quickly rehouse Americans experiencing homelessness, including veterans.
The funding, which will be made available through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Continuum of Care program, is just the latest step in the White House’s efforts to meet its goals of reducing homelessness in the United States by 25% by 2025 and rehousing 38,000 veterans in 2023.
“No one should be homeless in this country, especially not those who served it,” President Joe Biden said during his State of the Union address earlier this year.
Of the $3.1 billion, $11.5 million will be allocated for legal services for veterans experiencing homelessness, to help them obtain representation in landlord-tenant disputes, as well as assist with court proceedings. Another $58 million is headed towards helping veterans find jobs, learn occupational skills, and provide them with support services so that they can more easily reenter the workforce. How the rest of the funds will be spent has not yet been made public.
The administration also announced a new series of “boot camps” by HUD and Veterans Affairs (VA). These will help VA medical centers and public housing agencies rehouse homeless veterans more quickly.
According to the VA, 40,401 homeless veterans were put into permanent housing last year, but 2,443 of them ended up homeless again within the same year. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, although they note that an exact number is hard to determine, due to the transient nature of homeless populations.
“We like to say here that the phrase, ‘homeless veteran,’ should not exist in the English language,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough told CNN. “Ending veteran homelessness has been and continues to be a top priority of the president and his relentless advocacy for that goal has led to very important investments and advancements, including robust funding.”
While this latest round of funding is not specifically earmarked for homeless veterans, Biden administration officials hope that making progress on rehousing former service members will ultimately lead to more broadly improving the state of homelessness in the United States.
“Homelessness is a challenge we face as a nation,” White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden said in a statement. “But most importantly, it is a solvable one. There are so many lessons there that can help us tackle this problem for all Americans.”
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