State Agency Continues Sharp Focus on Veterans, Homelessness
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) strives to build strong, vibrant communities, and ending veteran homelessness is a key component of this work. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Annual Homeless Assessment Report:
- The number of veterans experiencing homelessness has dropped by almost 50% since 2009, a decline of 36,000 people
- Georgia has the fifth-largest decrease in veterans experiencing homelessness from 2009-2019 of any state
- Georgia outpaced the national averages in reducing homeless veterans, with a 71% decrease, or 1,959 veterans.
As the primary administrator for the Georgia Balance of State Continuum of Care (CoC), a local planning body responsible for coordinating the full range of homeless services in a geographic area, DCA plays a key role in coordinating the response to homelessness, including veterans, in 152 of 159 counties. DCA and the Balance of State CoC are working to end veteran homelessness in numerous ways including but not limited to:
- Granting bonus points to funding proposals for programs who will serve homeless veterans in whole or in part
- Creating a designated seat on the Balance of State CoC board for a one appointment specific to assist in addressing housing and homelessness among veterans
- Actively participating in the planning with the VA and veterans’ providers through the SSVF Community Plan to refine collective strategies related to ending veteran homelessness
- Intentionally pairing homeless veterans with agencies funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program to receive critical services and housing placements
- Increasing participation and partnership with veterans’ advocates and service agencies to conduct a more accurate count of homeless veterans to better inform housing strategies
- Receiving funding for up to 19 AmeriCorps VISTA workers to increase the ability to implement HUD strategies to assess and house homeless persons, including veterans, through the coordinated entry process
- Formally partnering through written agreements with the Veteran’s Administration (VA) to collect data on homeless veteran housing placements to more accurately track and understand veteran homelessness in our communities
- Administering Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers (VASH) vouchers to provide housing and supportive services for homeless veterans
- Adhering to the United State Interagency Council on Homelessness’ (USICH) strategic plan to end homelessness (Home, Together), which prioritizes ending veteran homelessness
As DCA continues to serve communities across Georgia, we will continue our efforts to serve those who served our country by providing opportunities for safe and affordable housing.