JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Those who work to help the homeless will tell you a significant number of people who live on the streets once served in the United States military.
Officials with the Veterans Affairs Administration (VA) say they’re trying to help.
In 2022, the VA set a nationwide goal of finding reliable housing for 38,000 homeless veterans, a goal the VA says it exceeded.
“Initially, we had mixed views about whether we could meet the target, but we did earlier than expected and then we exceeded that target by the end of the calendar year by 137%,” said Wilma Davenport, James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center (JHQVAMC) Social Work Supervisor.
JHQVAMC says 232 homeless veterans found permanent housing in the Tri-Cities in 2022.
“It really was a coordination of efforts with the VA, our community partners and countless individuals and agencies,” Davenport said.
The Veterans Affairs Administration has focused on reducing the number of homeless veterans in recent years. According to the VA, on a single night in January 2022, an estimated 33,129 veterans were homeless nationwide.
“Certainly, we’re seeing a significant homeless population,” Davenport said.
But nationwide, the VA reports the number of homeless veterans is steadily declining. That January 2022 snapshot of homeless veterans was down 11% from two years earlier.
The VA stated the estimated number of veterans experiencing homelessness in America has declined by 55.3% since 2010.
“We’re continuing conversations started in the past year with other community partners to establish our own targets and see if there are other ways to find housing in the special populations in our veteran group,” said Davenport.
Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness can call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838.
Trained counselors are on duty to connect veterans with help.
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