Persistence Needed in Battle against Veteran Homelessness

The federal government has made significant strides in tackling veteran homelessness, but reaching President Obama’s goal of completely eradicating the problem is still years away, according to testimony last week by veterans service providers.

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.),chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, questioned the rationale for having more than 20 programs designed to take homeless veterans off the streets and provide them with housing, health care and employment assistance, reported Stars and Stripes.

The programs are not duplicative in many cases since homeless veterans have diverse needs, said Baylee Crone, executive director for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Phil Landis, president and CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego, challenged the notion that the federal government’s “housing first” model is the best approach for all veterans, pointing out that housing without treatment is dangerous for those with severe mental health, substance abuse or other issues.

The model is “an admirable and reasonable idea for many veterans,” Landis said, but treatment programs and transitional housing must remain available for those who need it, according to the story.

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