U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today released a statement on the decline in the number of homeless veterans. According to a new report released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the number of homeless veterans in the U.S. dropped by seven percent this year. Klobuchar recently passed legislation to help fight homelessness among veterans. The Helping Our Homeless Veterans Act improves homeless services outreach to rural and underserved urban veterans. Specifically, it strengthens an existing program that provides chronically homeless veterans with housing vouchers and case management services, such as help accessing counseling and job training.
"This marks significant progress in the fight to end homelessness among veterans but there is still more work to be done," said Klobuchar. "No veteran should be without a home. When we ask our men and women to fight and sacrifice in defense of our nation, we make a promise that we're going to give them the support they need when they return from serving, and I will continue to work to make sure they have the resources they need and deserve."
A 2009 Wilder Research survey found that nearly 700 individuals in Minnesota who previously served in the U.S. military were homeless on any given night. Minnesota saw its number of homeless veterans increase by seven percent from 2006 to 2009 and the number of homeless women veterans more than doubled.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made a commitment to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Klobuchar's provision would help the VA extend services to rural and underserved urban veterans by authorizing the VA to partner with eligible state and local governments, tribal organizations, and community-based service providers to help homeless veterans access HUD-VASH housing vouchers and case management services. The bill requires the VA to consult with community providers to ensure all needy veterans are served.