(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester issued the following statement today after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness released the preliminary results of the annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Count of veterans homelessness, revealing an 11 percent decrease in veterans homelessness from 2020 to 2022:
“These early numbers make clear that efforts of Congress, VA, and HUD to support homeless veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic are working to put more roofs over heads and deliver support where it’s needed most. While I’m encouraged to see our work pay off, we’ve still got a long way to go in tackling veterans homelessness. We’ve got to make this relief permanent and I’ll continue fighting to pass commonsense legislation to do it—helping connect every person who served with a safe place to call home.”
Each year, HUD releases a PIT count of unhoused people across the United States, including veterans. The annual report informs how Congress legislates and allocates resources to respond to and prevent veterans homelessness. The forthcoming report is based on a single night’s assessment in January 2022 and found 33,136 veterans experiencing homelessness in the United States compared to 37,242 in 2020, which was the last time a full PIT count was conducted.
Last year, Tester secured his Grant Regulation Adjustment during the Coronavirus Emergency (GRACE) for Homeless Veterans Act of 2020 in an end-of-year veterans’ package to remove barriers to VA funding for organizations providing temporary shelter to homeless veterans to make critical updates to their facilities to keep homeless veterans safe during the pandemic.
This Congress, Tester is leading the charge to permanently expand these and other pandemic-relief resources essential to providing critical care and support for unhoused veterans and their families with his Building Solutions for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness Act of 2021. This legislation would permanently cut red tape on capital grants provided by VA for organizations assisting veterans experiencing homelessness—extending provisions under the GRACE Act. It also would ensure that organizations have the necessary funding to continue supporting veterans and avoid derailing their progress toward effectively ending veterans homelessness.