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[IWS] CRS: VETERANS AND HOMELESSNESS [29 November 2013]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

________________________________________________________________________

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

Veterans and Homelessness

Libby Perl, Specialist in Housing Policy

November 29, 2013

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34024.pdf

[full-text, 46 pages]

 

Summary

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans,

including the needs of homeless veterans. Researchers have found both male and female veterans

to be overrepresented in the homeless population, and as the number of veterans increases due to

these conflicts, there is concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately.

The 2007-2009 recession and the subsequent slow economic recovery also raised concerns that

homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans.

 

Congress has created numerous programs that serve homeless veterans specifically, almost all of

which are funded through the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans

Affairs (VA). These programs provide health care and rehabilitation services for homeless

veterans (the Health Care for Homeless Veterans and Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans

programs), employment assistance (Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and Compensated

Work Therapy program), and transitional housing (Grant and Per Diem program) as well as

supportive services (the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program). The VA also works

with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent

supportive housing to homeless veterans through the HUD-VA Supported Housing Program

(HUD-VASH). In the HUD-VASH program, HUD funds rental assistance through Section 8

vouchers while the VA provides supportive services. In addition, the VA and HUD have

collaborated on a homelessness prevention demonstration program.

 

Several issues regarding veterans and homelessness have become prominent, in part because of

the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. One issue is ending homelessness among veterans. In November

2009, the VA announced a plan to end homelessness within five years. Both the VA and HUD

have taken steps to increase housing and services for homeless veterans. Funding for VA

programs has increased in recent years (see Table 5) and Congress has appropriated funds to

increase available units of permanent supportive housing through the HUD-VASH program (see

Table 6). Congress has appropriated $425 million to support initial funding of HUD-VASH

vouchers in each year from FY2008 through FY2013, enough to fund nearly 58,000 vouchers.

 

Another issue is the concern that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are at risk of

homelessness may not receive the services they need. In addition, concerns have arisen about the

needs of female veterans, whose numbers are increasing. Women veterans face challenges that

could contribute to their risks of homelessness. They are more likely to have experienced sexual

trauma than women in the general population and are more likely than male veterans to be single

parents. Historically, few homeless programs for veterans have had the facilities to provide

separate accommodations for women and women with children. In recent years, Congress and the

VA have made changes to some programs in an attempt to address the needs of female veterans,

including funding set asides and efforts to expand services.

 

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Overview of Veterans and Homelessness ........................................................................................ 1

Definition of “Homeless Veteran” ............................................................................................. 2

Estimates of the Number of Homeless Veterans ........................................................................ 4

Demographic Characteristics of Homeless Veterans ................................................................. 7

Demographic Characteristics Reported in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report ........................... 8

Demographic Characteristics of Veterans Served in VA Homeless Programs .................... 8

Overrepresentation of Veterans in the Homeless Population ......................................................... 11

Overrepresentation of Male Veterans ................................................................................ 12

Overrepresentation of Female Veterans ............................................................................ 13

Why Are Veterans Overrepresented in the Homeless Population? .......................................... 16

Factors Present During and After Military Service ........................................................... 16

Factors that Pre-date Military Service ............................................................................... 18

Federal Programs that Serve Homeless Veterans ........................................................................... 18

The Department of Veterans Affairs ........................................................................................ 19

Health Care for Homeless Veterans ................................................................................... 19

Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans .......................................................................... 20

Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence Program ......................................... 21

Grant and Per Diem Program ............................................................................................ 23

Supportive Services for Veteran Families ......................................................................... 26

Enhanced Use Leases ........................................................................................................ 27

Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Veterans ............................................................... 27

VA and HUD Collaborations ................................................................................................... 28

HUD-VASH ...................................................................................................................... 28

Demonstration Program to Prevent Homelessness Among Veterans ................................ 31

The Department of Labor ........................................................................................................ 32

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program ....................................................................... 32

Funding for Homeless Veterans Programs ..................................................................................... 34

Issues Regarding Veterans and Homelessness ............................................................................... 37

The VA Plan to End Veteran Homelessness ............................................................................. 37

Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan .......................................................................... 39

Women Veterans ...................................................................................................................... 40

 

Tables

Table 1. HUD Estimates of Homeless Veterans, 2009-2013 ........................................................... 6

Table 2. Information About Veterans Served in VA Homeless Programs ........................................ 9

Table 3. Results from Five Studies: Veterans as a Percentage of the Homeless Population  and Likelihood of Experiencing Homelessness .................... 14

Table 4. Selected Outcomes for Veterans Served in VA Homeless Programs ............................... 25

Table 5. Funding for Selected Homeless Veterans Programs, FY1988-FY2012 ........................... 34

Table 6. Funding for HUD-VASH ................................................................................................. 36

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 42

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 




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