Earlier this month, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) announced the number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States had been cut nearly in half since 2010. The data revealed a 17 percent decrease in veteran homelessness between January 2015 and January 2016 — quadruple the previous year’s annual decline — and a 47 percent decrease since 2010. *
United Way of Central Alabama’s Priority Veteran Initiative coordinates with eight continuum of care partners that serve homeless veterans in Alabama that have been working for three years to contribute to this outstanding success. Results from HUD’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) survey, on homelessness, conducted in January 2016 shows a 22% drop from just the previous year in homeless veterans served by the Alabama’s continuum of care providers including Priority Veteran.
“One common factor of the three VA medical center’s efforts of achieving a decline in Veteran homelessness in Alabama has been the opportunity to call upon community partners to remove barriers and support local solutions to common Veteran challenges in areas such as unemployment, legal affairs, and stable housing, which drive our community impact for Veterans and their families across the state,” said Paula Stokes, Relationship Manager – Alabama Veterans Experience Office US Department of Veterans Affairs.
“We have served 640 veterans and their families this year, and I am very proud of what our team at Priority Veteran has been able to accomplish. Each week, an average of 12 new veteran families enter our program across the state of Alabama through our offices in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Tuskegee,” said Lula Skowronek, Executive Director, Priority Veteran.
With the support of the VA and by using a Housing First approach, which emphasizes securing permanent, stable housing quickly, then providing needed supportive services, Skowronek said 88% of Priority Veteran clients are moved into permanent housing within 90 days of opening the case. “We expect that next year, the number of homeless veterans will drop even further, and although some veterans will continue to fall into hard times, our goal is to ensure that homelessness among those who served our country is rare, brief and non-recurring,” said Skowronek.
United Way of Central Alabama serves Jefferson, Shelby, Walker, Blount and St. Clair counties by providing solutions for the most important needs in the community. Through our partner agencies and community initiatives, we improve lives and community conditions by building and mobilizing resources. To learn more about United Way’s impact in your community visit www.uwca.org. And to learn more about Priority Veteran visit www.priorityveteran.org
*Source: US Department of Housing and Urban Development PIT Estimate of Veteran Homelessness in the US https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/5114/2016-pit-estimate-of-veteran-homelessness-in-the-us/