June 09, 2017
"We call it the search and rescue," said Gonzalez, 41. "It's very similar to the military where we go out into these types of areas, under bridges, in parks, deep in the fields of homelessness."
Sandy Conner, 50, a Navy veteran, hopes to apply for a HUD-VASH voucher to help get him into housing. He currently lives by a ravine where the busy 605 Freeway meets the 10 Freeway in El Monte. DORIAN MERINA/KPCCDespite recent gains in the fight to end veteran homelessness, a sharp rise in the numbers living on the streets of Southern California has prompted veterans and advocates to call for more action and to question whether the problems at the root of the crisis are being adequately confronted.
The number of homeless veterans hit 4,828, a 57 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Jan. 2017 homeless count released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority last month.
That's a strong indication that efforts are not getting to veterans early enough, said Nathan Graeser, a researcher at the Center for Innovation and Research for Military and Veteran Families at USC's School of Social Work.
"We don't have a lot of help for people when they reach out before they are in crisis and before they are homeless," said Graeser.
And though progress has been made in helping some veterans find jobs and getting them mental health care, he said, it should start even before service members leave the military.
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