Resources shift to meet needs as spike opposite to nationwide reduction
By Julia Airey
January 30, 2018
Veteran Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin has expressed concern that homelessness among former troops in the District has inched higher, even as it has fallen nationwide.
Army veteran Bernin Gibson, 82, leans his pack of donated winter clothes against a bollard near the Washington DC VA Medical Center on Saturday after the Winterhaven service fare. Mr. Gibson has attended Winterhaven since it began 24 years ago. (Julia Airey / The Washington Times)“We are very committed to ending veteran homelessness,” Mr. Shulkin told The Washington Times during his agency’s recent Winterhaven homelessness services fair at the Washington DC VA Medical Center. “This has been a journey which started in 2010 where we made significant progress across the country — a 46 percent reduction nationally. But last year we actually went backwards with a 2 percent increase.”
According to the annual “Point-in-Time” tally of people sleeping outdoors in winter, the District counted 672 homeless in 2017, up from 350 in 2016. The data from last week’s PIT tally will be available in May.
In addition, 14.1 percent of the District’s 28,400 veterans were reported living in poverty in 2016, up from 10.5 percent in 2015, according to the Census Bureau.
Citing poverty as a leading risk factor for homelessness, federal and local providers of human services have begun shifting resources to address the needs of veterans at risk of becoming homeless.
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