Nationally we have reduced homelessness among veterans by 47% between 2010 and 2016, with a 17% reduction in 2015 alone. As a nation in 2016 over 13,000 homeless veterans were unsheltered. More than 35 communities and 3 states – Connecticut, Delaware, & Virginia – have effectively ended veteran homelessness. As of the 2017 Point in Time (PIT) count, in Spokane County 118 veterans were identified out of the 1,090 or 879 households. This is a 13% increase from 2016, with 9 veterans unsheltered.
Since 2014 more than 880 Mayors, government and other officials have joined the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. In 2015, Spokane joined this national initiative and housed over 150 veterans through effective partnerships with Volunteers of America, Goodwill, and the VA, utilizing funding through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and the HUD - VA Supportive Housing Program (HUD – VASH) as well as the Grant Per Diem Program. Through effective landlord relationships and other community partnerships Spokane continues to house our community's vulnerable veterans. Spokane's Continuum of Care (CoC) Veteran Leadership Team continuously collaborates to address issues facing our homeless veteran population to strategically allocate resources to effectively meet needs.
Ending veteran homelessness does not mean no veteran will never experience homelessness, but rather should it occur our community has a comprehensive response to ensure that it is rare, brief and non-recurring. HUD dictates that in order to effectively end homelessness among veterans, we have identified all veterans experiencing homelessness and that our community provides shelter immediately to any veteran experiencing unsheltered homelessness who wants it. Our community must also provide service-intensive transitional housing only in limited instance and our community has the capacity to move veterans swiftly into permanent housing. To ensure homelessness is non-recurring, our community must have the resources, plans, partnerships and system capacity in place should any veterans become homeless or be at risk of homelessness in the future.