There are a number of avenues federal officials can pursue to reverse last year’s rise in the number of homeless veterans across the nation, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told the audience Wednesday at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ annual conference. Most of the increase, the first since 2010, occurred in just three states, including California, he noted.
“I don’t want to lose sight that numbers continue to go down in the rest of the country. In places where I have visited, they are begging for [veterans]. There are jobs, there is housing. But it’s hard to get people to move. So we need to come up with local solutions,” Carson told Military Times following his speech.
He pointed to high housing prices and regulatory barriers as two factors posing a challenge to reducing veterans’ homelessness. Carson praised the popular HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program — which provides vouchers and support services to veterans unable to afford rent costs — and said he has told Veterans Affairs officials he would like to continue the initiative. “I’m optimistic, particularly because a lot of agencies are working together now,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore